Extreme E is the off-road electric racing series from the people who brought you Formula E, and the Odyssey 21 is the buggy-like SUV which will form the basis of the series. The folks behind Extreme E invited Head Hoon Ken Block out to rip around the Saudi desert in one of these for a one-day test and then enter the final stage (stage 12) of the Dakar outside of Riyadh. To give you some idea of how quick this electric monster is, Block finished third quickest of the day.
Okay, okay, there are a whole lot of caveats to add on to that statement. Giving Block the benefit of the doubt, he was running in this thing with an engineer in the right seat, not a proper rally co-driver who is used to calling stage notes. For that reason I’ll say he probably could have run quicker still. The Odyssey 21 Block was driving, however, hadn’t just competed in 11 days of a grueling desert race, it wasn’t loaded down with spares, and it didn’t need to fit inside any of Dakar’s regulations.
That said, I’m still mighty impressed with the Odyssey 21 and Mr. Block’s abilities. The stage winner that day was Nasser Al Attiyah in a factory-backed Toyota entry, running a time of one hour seventeen and a half minutes. Ken Block basically jumped into a brand new vehicle he’d never driven before, albeit one with 750 lb/ft of torque and a 3600 pound race-weight, and ran an unfamiliar stage without a proper co-driver just a few seconds shy of the winner.
I’m getting really excited about the Extreme E series, and look forward to watching this delightful EV off-roader storm some epic scenery next year. Especially if it’s this quick!