There was special interest for electric car fans on the final day of the 2020 Dakar. The stage saw the international “race” debut of the Extreme E Racer Odyssey 21, an all-electric off-road racecar. The car was invited by organisers to take part in the finale of the 2020 Dakar Rally. It ran in support of Dakar’s commitment to alternative energy vehicle participation in future editions. Ken Block, he of the Gymkhana video fame, was the man tasked with wheel-twirling duties.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “We’re all very excited to see the Extreme E E-SUV taking on the final stage of the prestigious Dakar Rally.”
Extreme E is a new race series that will kick-off next year. It was conceived by the same man, Alejandro Agag, responsible for the formation of the circuit-based Formula E championship. This new series uses electrically powered all-wheel-drive buggies that will race in some of the world’s most extreme climates.
Five rounds have been confirmed for the inaugural season, each offering a completely different terrain. The races will take place in Dakar, Senegal (ocean) where the original Dakar Rally used to finish, Saudi Arabia (desert), Nepal (glacier), Greenland (Arctic), and Brazil (Amazon Rainforest).
Racing drivers will compete in identical off-roaders. The battery powered machines develop 400 kW and 920 N.m of peak torque. Thanks to all-wheel-drive they can sprint from 0-100 km/h in 4,5 seconds and will top out at 200 km/h.
A few teams that compete in the Formula E series (which may be coming to Cape Town) have already committed to the inaugural year of Extreme E. Several big-name drivers have shown interest in competing, among them WRC champions, Le Mans winners and RallyCross competitors. Current 2019 FIA RX champion Timmy Hansen and his brother recently tested the electric racer (see video below) also seem to be very keen to compete in Extreme E.
Said Block of the new racecar: “My whole career’s been spent driving combustion-engined cars with turbochargers – the type of driving there with left-foot braking and the spool of the turbo to try and get drive out of corners is entirely different. Here, you can be more progressive with the throttle and wait a little longer because the torque is there the second you get on the throttle – the thing just wants to leap forward. I’m having to tone down my style a little as the car reacts so quickly and the power delivery is so fast.”