MADRID – Extreme E, the eco-friendly answer to off-road car racing, is set to hold a competition in Nepal’s Kali Gandaki Valley.
The new form of motorsport will see electric cars battle it out in some of the locations that have been most affected by the climate crisis and pollution.
It was the brainchild of Alejandro Agag, founder and president of Extreme E’s sister race Formula E, who hopes to launch the championship in 2021.
“We thought something was missing from the landscape of electric racing, the ‘off road,’ the electric SUV. Something had to be done in that space,” he told EFE in a phone interview.
The hallmark of Formula E is that it races on urban circuits, while the new competition will take place in remote settings that reflect the planet’s environmental problems.
“We will go to the most remote and most damaged places on the planet due to climate change, human action or pollution,” Agag said.
“That is why we are going to race in areas of the Arctic where there is no ice, in parts of the Amazon where trees have been cut down, in an area of the Himalayas where glaciers have melted or on the coasts of Senegal, which are full of plastic.”
The provisional schedule includes a race at Lac Rose, Senegal’s pink lake near the capital Dakar in January, a second at Al-Ula in Saudi Arabia in March and a third in Kali Gandaki Valley in Nepal in May next year.
The town of Kangerlussuaq in Greenland, near a retreating glacier, will be the scene of another race in late August 2021, and the Brazilian municipality of Santarem on the banks of the Amazon is due to host an event in October of the same year.
Agag said a number of measures will be taken to diminish the championship’s environmental footprint, including transporting vehicles and equipment by boat and holding events without a live audience.
“In these competitions, a large part of the environmental impact is produced by the public,” he added.
“It will be an event focused on the media and television, and we will minimize the environmental footprint of the championship.”
Twelve teams are due to compete and race routes will be between 10-15 kilometers with the competition to be held in the format of elimination rounds.
One of the vehicles Odyssey 21 is an electric SUV capable of a top speed of 200 kilometers per hour.
Agag said there are agreements to broadcast the races in England, Italy, Germany, the United States, India and China.