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Extreme E reveals hydrogen offshoot plan for 2024

All-electric off-road series Extreme E is planning to organise a hydrogen offshoot for 2024 to be known as Extreme H that will run alongside its sister series.

Formula E Hydrogen

Hydrogen has long been touted as a ‘clean’ energy source for future mobility, as the only byproduct following intra-cell electrolysis reaction is water.

Championship founder Alejandro Agag, who first shared his intention to adopt hydrogen power in the SUV series at XE's launch in 2019, described the move as "a natural evolution of our mission to showcase the possibilities of new technologies in the race to fight climate issues".

The new Extreme H series will utilise the same spec Spark Racing Technologies-built Odyssey 21 chassis as XE, while participating teams can use the same custom-built drivetrain across both cars.

But a hydrogen fuel cell will replace the Williams Advanced Engineering-produced battery "as the principal energy source", according to the organiser's statement.

XE already uses hydrogen power stations, produced by AFC Energy, on events to charge the car's batteries, but the Extreme H series would be the first directly hydrogen-powered series of its kind.

PLUS: How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport

The claim to being the first hydrogen racing series could be taken by the HYRAZE League concept that was announced in 2020. With illustrious partners including HWA, it planned to launch in 2023 with a fleet of 800bhp vehicles powered by two hydrogen fuel cells.

Agag said: "Together with the current Extreme E teams, we will decide in the coming months the best way to integrate the Hydrogen powered cars into the racing weekend.

"Two separate categories, full transition to Hydrogen or joint racing are all options on the table.

Alejandro Agag is targeting the new series for a 2024 start date

Alejandro Agag is targeting the new series for a 2024 start date

Photo by: FIA Formula E

"By using the existing Extreme E platform we can also utilise our transport, talent and operations to ensure we are minimising footprint in the process. This effectively means we can have double the race action, with marginal additional impact."

JBXE Extreme E team boss Jenson Button praised the concept. The 2009 Formula 1 world champion said: "To see racing of this calibre powered by Hydrogen cells, which will allow for even more racing with less impact, is remarkable."

PLUS: Why McLaren has taken its unprecedented off-road left turn

New ABT Cupra XE signing Nasser Al-Attiyah, who notched his fourth Dakar Rally won on last month's event, added: "I think it’s a good idea to have a new Championship with hydrogen in close contact with Extreme E.

"I think it will be interesting to see how well the new event goes. I hope everybody will enjoy it and it will also be fascinating for the manufacturers.

"There has been some pressure for hydrogen to be a part of the motorsport world, and I think it is a good idea so we’ll see what we can do.”

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