Agag, the founder of the Formula E racing series that features all-electric open-wheel cars, has announced plans for another save-the-planet type setup. Agag is planning a series that will feature electric off-road vehicles to add to his Formula E enterprise that kicked of its first season in 2014.
The initial public showing of the new vehicle—the Odyssey 21—was held last summer at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Earlier this year, Hoonigan racing star Ken Block even took one of the Extreme E prototypes our for an exhibition run during one of the stages of the 2020 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.
Block talked about his experience in the Odyssey 21, an SUV being produced by French outfit Spark Racing Technology. Williams Advanced Engineering is supplying the batteries. Agag expects as many as 12 of the vehicles to be ready by March with group testing to begin sometime this spring.
“My whole career’s been spent driving combustion-engined cars with turbochargers—the type of driving there with left-foot braking and the spool of the turbo to try and get drive out of corners is entirely different,” Block said. “Here, you can be more progressive with the throttle and wait a little longer because the torque is there the second you get on the throttle—the thing just wants to leap forward. I’m having to tone down my style a little as the car reacts so quickly and the power delivery is so fast.”
FIA World Rallycross champion Timmy Hansen also put the Odyssey 21 through its paces recently, as shown in the Extreme E-produced video posted to YouTube in January:
But be aware: This new series is designed to be about much more than just cool, futuristic, electric SUVs churning up some dirt and ice in remote corners of the globe. There’s a environmental message that is more than just suggested. It’s a message hammered home on Extreme E’s webpage:
“Extreme E is a competitive platform for accelerating the development of electric vehicles, to help create a low-carbon future powered by renewable energy. We are committed to supporting and partnering with organisations (sic) working to restore the degraded environments in which we race, the precious ecosystems within them and the people who live there. Above all, we hope to raise awareness and inspire action to encourage every individual to come together and play their part to safeguard the future of the Earth and all its inhabitants.”
Racing is expected to take place in extreme conditions (sensing a theme here?) that include the Amazon rainforest and deserts—there’s even an Arctic Ice Race being teased on the series website. Events are slated to be held in head-t0-head stages of 6-10 kilometers each (roughly 3 to 6 miles) over a span of three days.
In December 2019, the series announced a provisional schedule for its first season. Fox Sports, which broadcasts Formula E, is already on board for the new venture.
Provisional Extreme E Season 1 (2021) calendar:
Jan. 22-24: Lac Rose, Dakar, Senegal
March 4-6: Sharaan, Al-‘Ula, Saudi Arabia
May 6-8: Kali Gandaki Valley, Mustang District, Nepal
Aug. 27-29: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Oct. 29-31: Santarém, Pará, Brazil