The key figure who sells Extreme E's environment dream
Extreme E enjoyed a largely successful start in Saudi Arabia, but questions remain over how the series can achieve its lofty environmental goals. For answers to why and where XE races, an expert voice lends vital credibility
Richard Washington is critically important to Extreme E. He is the person who can and does satisfactorily address the controversial questions, not skirt around them, to justify why this championship “built out of concern for the climate crisis” is comfortable to launch in an oil-rich, human rights-violating nation and why racing 1650kg all-electric SUVs is more beneficial to the environment than simply not racing at all.
His name is probably only fractionally more recognisable this week than it was last, thanks to it popping up during the broadcasts of the inaugural Extreme E round in Saudi Arabia. It shouldn’t be surprising that he finds obscurity in the world of motorsport. He is, after all, the professor of climate science at the University of Oxford and no retired racer or aerodynamics guru.