The creator of the soon-to-be FIA Formula E World Championship has another electric racing project in the works: an SUV series that’ll travel the world and potentially make environmental documentaries about each location. That series, Extreme E, now has an official calendar, and plans to kick off in January 2021.
The Extreme E off-road series will also have its home base on the water, with former Royal Mail Ship RMS St. Helena used as its “floating paddock” throughout the championship. It’ll be unique, if anything.
Extreme E announced its inaugural 2021 calendar on Tuesday, saying it’ll visit five different locations that year on four continents. The season will start in Senegal at the end of January and end in Brazil in October, and Extreme E said its goal is to work with local officials and experts to “combat issues such as deforestation, rising sea levels, melting glacier ice, desertification, and plastic pollution.” The admirable goal of the series, at least as it advertises, is to show the impact of humans and climate change in remote locations while promoting the adoption of electric vehicles.
Sure, the car races themselves in these locations aren’t actively fighting climate change and other human-made pollutants, but it’s cool that the series wants to help with those things in conjunction with its races.
The provisional 2021 calendar, via Extreme E, is:
22-23-24 January: Lac Rose, Dakar, Senegal
4-5-6 March: Sharaan, Al-‘Ula, Saudi Arabia
6-7-8 May: Kali Gandaki Valley, Mustang District, Nepal
27-28-29 August: Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
29-30-31 October: Santarém, Pará, Brazil
Each of those locations, the announcement said, represents a different type of terrain being affected by climate change and other human activity: the ocean leg, Senegal; the desert in Saudi Arabia; the mountain round in “the heart of the Himalayas” in Nepal; a glacier round in Greenland; and the rainforest round in Brazil. The announcement also made sure to mention that organizers will have assessments done at each location in order to make a priority of “environmental protection, social inclusivity and fair political practices.”
Announcements on further drivers, partnerships and teams, Extreme E said, will come soon.
Alejandro Agag, the founder of the young but newly FIA-recognized Formula E World Championship, is also behind Extreme E, and said in the announcement that the series will be especially good for “anyone that denies [the] existence [of climate change] or is unaware of the problems it is causing.”
While an electric SUV series might not sound like the greatest thing in the world at first, Extreme E is making itself out to be something so unimaginable in the real world that it almost seems like it’s out of a video game. Its plan, at least, is to visit the types of locations we’d watch regular environmental documentaries on because it’s either too expensive or too much effort to visit them ourselves, but also add race cars in the mix while claiming to help local authorities with the environmental issues they’re facing.
Whether all of that pans out, who knows. But a series that claims to care enough about the environments it races in to help those places, rather than visiting and leaving right after the race is over, is a noble concept. Plus, watching car races combined with environmental documentaries sounds fun as hell. It’s like movie day in science class, with the addition of race cars.
We’ll just have to wait until 2021 to find out if Extreme E ends up being as noble as it sounds.