London – Continental is backing a new world racing series for off-road electric vehicles (EVs), the event organisers announced at a 31 Jan launch in London.
Extreme E aims to bring together automotive OEs, motorsport and other stakeholders to highlight the performance and environmental benefits of EVs.
From 2021, 12 teams are expected to race electric SUVs in remote world regions, including those suffering the effects of climate change.
Organisers did not identify any automotive OEs signed up to the series but said discussions were on-going with at least nine major companies.
Target locations include the Himalayas, the Indian Ocean coast, in the Arctic, across deserts and in the tropics.
Drivers will have to cope with extreme heat and humidity, high altitude and subzero temperatures over off-road stages of around 6-10km.
The launch was held on the St. Helena, an historic ship which will undergo a major renovation to become the mobile operational base for Extreme E.
As a founding partner and sponsor of Extreme E, Continental will start prototype testing in April, towards developing tires for the extreme race conditions.
“The first time I heard of it, I thought this idea is crazy enough to change things,” said Philipp von Hirschheydt, Continental’s EMEA head of passenger and light truck replacement tires.
“Extreme E it is about racing and making the difference and a passion to win, all embedded in sustainability,” the tire executive added at the launch.
“This is where we really want to be,” continued von Hirschheydt, saying that Continental is “engineering to the extreme to make this [racing] formula a big success.”
“Extreme E can help make the world more sustainable faster,” Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Formula E said at the launch.
The series, he added, will help progress EV technology and showcase “the impact that clean mobility solutions can have on the efforts to halt global climate change.”