Eco Innovation

Extreme H unveils its new hydrogen racing car

1st July 2024
Paige West

Extreme H, the hydrogen racing series, unveiled its pioneering centrepiece, the ‘Pioneer 25’ hydrogen race car, in an event aboard the series’ St. Helena vessel.

The Extreme H series represents a significant step forward in the transition to clean energy, showcasing advanced hydrogen technology in a competitive racing environment. The Pioneer 25 racing car, designed to demonstrate the viability and performance capabilities of hydrogen fuel cells, set a new standard for eco-friendly motorsport.

PIF is the first-ever Principal Partner across all three electric race series through the Electric 360 (E360) partnership, which includes Formula E, Extreme E, and E1. The development of the championship would not have been possible without the support of partners including PIF, ENOWA NEOM, Vodafone Business, Symbio, Siemens, and Jackson Swiss Partners.

Hailing the start of the championship’s new hydrogen-powered era, Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme H, said: “We are incredibly proud to introduce the world to the first hydrogen racing car and the Extreme H series. This launch is not just about a new vehicle; it’s about pioneering the future of sustainable motorsport. Hydrogen fuel cells offer a remarkable opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and promote clean energy solutions, and we are proud to lead this charge with Extreme H.

“The evolution to Extreme H is a momentous moment for our championship. It’s important for every motorsport series to have a unique selling point and hydrogen is very significant. We are undoubtedly hydrogen pioneers, the first in this space, and we are excited to showcase the potential of an element that, in large parts, remains a hugely untapped resource. The large-scale adoption of hydrogen could have enormous benefits not just across motorsport and the automotive industry but could also unearth a wealth of positive benefits for the future of the planet. Along with our global partners, including PIF – our Principal Partner – we will continue to redefine the growth of electric sports across the E360 series.

“Our evolution to Extreme H makes us the first-ever testbed of hydrogen technology in motorsport – not only in our racing cars, but also transportation, infrastructure, refuelling processes and safety regulations. It’s a ground-breaking initiative. Our racing series has always been unique, but its future as Extreme H undoubtedly marks Racing’s New Frontier.”

The Pioneer 25 was revealed adorned in a special Red Bull livery at the official launch, marking the arrival of the energy drink giant as the championship’s Official Energy Drinks Partner.

The Pioneer 25

The Pioneer 25, aptly named to signify the series' innovative new era, is a completely new car developed since the announcement of the world’s first hydrogen motor racing championship in 2022. Designed and manufactured by Spark Racing Technology, the car is equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell from Symbio, Extreme H’s Official Fuel Cell Provider, and has undergone extensive testing equivalent to three seasons of racing in preparation for its debut.

Symbio will provide a 75kW hydrogen fuel cell, replacing the battery as the principal energy source. This fuel cell powers a battery pack produced and supported trackside by Fortescue ZERO. Hydrogen fuel cells, representing a technological revolution, are now becoming widespread, with this technology already in use behind the scenes in Extreme E.

The Pioneer 25’s peak 400kW (550hp) output can accelerate the 2,200 kilogram, 2.4 metre-wide race car from 0-100kph in 4.5 seconds and scale gradients of up to 130%.

Each Pioneer 25 raced in Extreme H comprises a common package of standardised parts from Spark Racing Technology, though teams can redesign the front and rear bodywork and lights to replicate the look of everyday car models.

Mark Grain, Technical Director at Extreme E, said: “There has been no compromise with the Pioneer 25. Spark Racing Technology and Symbio have done a tremendous job in developing the Extreme H car, which is fit for our exciting new era as a hydrogen-powered championship.

“We’ve learnt a lot from the ODYSSEY 21, which we have carried forwards, but it’s an all-new chassis and a purpose-built racing car for the hydrogen fuel cell. We wanted the racing to be more intense and we wanted the race cars to be faster.

“The Pioneer 25 is a significant upgrade on the ODYSSEY 21. Overall performance of the car has taken a big step forward. The all-new suspension geometry with driver adjustable shock absorbers from FOX on the Extreme H car provides a great platform for the power and torque that's going to be available to the drivers.

“We’ve demonstrated EVs can cope with very harsh environments and racing in hard conditions in Extreme E, so moving to Extreme H is a natural progression. We want to demonstrate to the world that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can be exciting, they can be rugged, and they can be very robust. We want to carry through that development with the Pioneer 25.”

The next major milestone for Extreme H will be the first public test of the Pioneer 25, scheduled to take place at Extreme E’s Hydro X Prix in Scotland on 13-14th July.

Season 1 calendar

During the official launch, the championship’s first-ever race calendar was unveiled, featuring 10 rounds across five locations for Extreme H’s debut campaign. The series will open in Saudi Arabia, followed by the European leg of the campaign with races in the UK, Germany, and Italy. The 2025 Extreme H season finale will take place in the USA, marking the Pioneer 25’s debut in North America. Exact dates and locations for the 2025 season will be confirmed later this year.

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