As usual, exotic supercars, race cars and vintage machines were the focus of this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed, but the event also hosted a very different debut. The new Extreme E race series, Formula E's unruly off-road brother, chose the venue to reveal the Odyssey 21 all-wheel-drive extreme rally racer. With a 550-hp battery-driven powertrain and 37-in tires, this thing is ready to travel the world, biting, grabbing and sliding its way across every type of earthly surface toward the ultimate in pure-electric bragging rights.
Announced earlier this year, Extreme E will take electric racing off road ... way off road. The series will take place in five of the most remote, challenging environments on Earth: the Sahara Desert, the Amazon Rainforest, the Arctic, the Himalayas and Indian Ocean islands.
The official race car of the series is a very impressive design, indeed. Built atop a niobium-reinforced steel tube frame, the 173-inch-long (4,401-mm) Odyssey 21 was developed by Spark Racing Technology, the same folks behind Formula E cars. Each Odyssey 21 race entrant will feature the standardized Spark chassis, roll cage and crash structures, along with a Williams Advanced Engineering battery pack. From there, teams will be able to swap in their own powertrain and select body components, such as bumpers and lights.
Extreme E says the Odyssey 21 will offer up to 550 hp (410 kW) and 679 lb-ft (921 Nm) of torque. It estimates 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) acceleration at 4.5 seconds and says the car will be able to scale gradients up to 130 percent (53 degrees). A set of specially engineered Continental off-road tires will help it maintain sure footing up those kinds of steep climbs. Each Extreme E team will receive two sets of Continental Extreme E summer and winter tires.
"With our high-performance tires for the Extreme E series, we are providing the drivers with very high grip for acceleration, braking and precision handling on what will be very demanding tracks and trails," explained Tansu Isik, head of Continental's EMEA region marketing. "The tires will be perfectly adapted to the electric SUVs in this series so as to ensure the best possible vehicle control and safety, even at the ragged edge."
A set of 37-in wheels spread on 79-in (1,998-mm) front and rear tracks holds those tires steady while a double-wishbone suspension with three-way adjustable mono-damper provides cushion. That suspension sets ride height at 17.7 in (450 mm) and offers up to (15 in (385 mm) of travel. The car stands on a 118-in (3,001-mm) wheelbase, stretches 96 in (2,300 mm) in width and weighs in at 3,638 lb (1,650 kg).
Extreme E lists top speed at 124 mph (200 km/h), but the spec sheet released during the debut doesn't address the question of driving range. With planned stages ranging between 6 and 10 km (3.7 and 6.2 mi), however, Extreme E will be less about long-distance endurance and more about speed and battling the elements.
The Extreme E series will look to highlight the effects of climate change on the world's most fragile ecosystems and serve as a testbed for sustainable mobility. Teams will test and develop technologies and components that could eventually find use in road-going vehicles.
"Extreme E's combination of top-level sporting competition and ultra-demanding environments will prove to be a significant research and development platform for manufacturers, driving further advancements in sustainable mobility," says Extreme E founder and Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag. "Whether it's in the Arctic, Himalayas, Amazon, desert or Indian Ocean islands, this car will showcase the ability of E-SUVs, not only to motorsport enthusiasts, but also to consumers who are looking to make their own difference to the planet by choosing an electric SUV."
In May, Venturi Automobiles signed on as the first official Extreme E team, a natural for the new race series. In addition to participating in Formula E since its inception, Venturi brings a wealth of experience in developing all-electric vehicles and concepts for everything from land speed record racing to polar exploration.
The Odyssey 21 made several demonstration runs on the famed Goodwood Hillclimb as part of its world premiere. Official prototype testing will begin in September, ahead of the delivery of 12 vehicles next March. After that, group testing will commence in mid 2020, and the inaugural season will open in early 2021.
Source: Extreme E
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