In a noteworthy development for the off-road racing community, the Extreme E off-road racing series is set to introduce hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in 2025, slightly later than initially anticipated. This decision signifies a significant move towards sustainability and innovation in the sport.
After successfully completing one season as an FIA championship, the Extreme H off-road series is on track to receive official recognition as an FIA World Championship starting from 2026. This acknowledgment by the global automotive governing body underscores the increasing prominence of off-road racing on the global stage.
In parallel, the battery-electric Extreme E, currently categorized as an FIA International Series, is scheduled to transition to FIA championship status in 2024. However, it will not achieve the distinguished World Championship status at that time. This distinction places Extreme H alongside seven other FIA World Championships, including the well-known Formula E.
For the battery-electric Extreme E to attain World Championship status within the FIA series, specific criteria related to the number of participants and event venues must be met. These criteria include hosting events on three continents, and the FIA must also be convinced that such a promotion is in the best interests of the sport. For comparison, Formula 1 holds the esteemed World Championship status, while supporting series like Formula 2 and Formula 3, despite their association with Formula 1, maintain the designation of FIA championships.
The concept of a hydrogen racing series was initially announced in February 2022, with the project being named “Extreme H” at that time. Under the original plan, Extreme H vehicles would share the same drivetrain and chassis as their Extreme E counterparts. However, instead of relying on conventional batteries, these advanced vehicles would utilize hydrogen fuel cells as their primary energy source. Visually, both Extreme E and Extreme H cars, based on the Odyssey 21-type unit, will remain indistinguishable from each other.
Alejandro Agag, the Founder and CEO of Extreme E, expressed his enthusiasm for this significant advancement in the motorsports world, stating, “Establishing a hydrogen racing world championship alongside the FIA will be a momentous milestone for Extreme E and the new Extreme H series. Eventual accreditation as an FIA Championship and then an FIA World Championship means we would be among the top tiers of global motorsport categories, and Extreme H would be the first-ever world championship racing series of its kind. What began as a conversation years ago about racing in extreme environments, showcasing the incredible performance and innovation of E-SUVs, has now demonstrated considerable growth and further pioneering technical advancements as we transition to hydrogen and Extreme H – a world-first.” This development underscores the motorsport industry's commitment to advancing sustainability and technological progress without favoring any particular viewpoint.