We've known for some time that the organisers of Formula E want to launch another EV motorsport called Extreme E. As the name implies, this planned competition will challenge drivers to race in extreme locales, including deserts, glaciers and tropical rainforests, that have been affected by climate change and other environmental catastrophes. Until today, though, we had no idea what the teams would actually be driving. At the Goodwood Festival of Speed, we finally got our answer -- say hello to the Odyssey 21, an electric SUV built by Spark Racing Technology, the same company that designed and built the first and second-gen Formula E cars.
The machine is an absolute beast. It uses a niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame and chunky 940mm wheels with, depending on the terrain, winter or summer tyres supplied by Continental. The racing juggernaut weighs 1,650kg and can go from nought to 62MPH (100KMH) in 4.5 seconds. That already-impressive time can also be achieved at gradients of up to 130 percent, according to the Goodwood editorial team. And here's the best part -- this isn't the car's final form. Twelve teams will be given this "base" version to tweak and develop throughout the competition.
The full dozen should be delivered by March 2020. The teams will then test their vehicles throughout the year and, if all goes to plan, start racing in early 2021. Extreme E hopes the competition will spark discussion about climate change and how electrified vehicles can help protect the environment. Running the races could prove tricky, however. The organizers have already realized that its dream courses will be in harsh, remote locations with little power, connectivity and infrastructure. To solve this problem, it bought a massive boat -- the RMS St. Helena -- that will be converted into a floating paddock and scientific research hub.
It's easy to be skeptical. The team has already delivered one EV motorsport, however -- so maybe they deserve the benefit of the doubt?