The environmental aspect of Extreme E is focused around ‘unlocking solutions’ in a “race with nature”, according to one of the leading figures involved in the new project, David de Rothschild.
The acclaimed British adventurer and ecologist, a member of the famous Rothschild banking family of England was brought into the Extreme E project as a last-minute addition to serve as its ‘chief explorer’.
He has undertaken a number of ambitious expeditions to raise awareness of climate change, including sailing from San Francisco to Sydney in a boat built from recycled plastic bottles.
“I’m excited to see that there is an appetite for green mobility, that excites me,” he told e-racing365 at the Extreme E launch event last week.
“This is happening, and I looked at Extreme E as something where, from my standpoint, I look at the parallel between a race and a race with nature.
“We’ve got to unlock solutions as quick as we can and, as I said to Alejandro [Agag] and the guys, I will help as much as I can to try and find the balance between the locations that we’re going to go to, and what they’ll need for a race.
“But what they’ll need for a race, I might not be able to find, and we might not be able to do it in certain locations and we’re going to have to stop.
“I don’t want us to have a negative impact on these environments, it’s always got to be a positive impact.
“We’ve got to invest into these locations and use the platform for showcasing solutions.
“That’s kind of where I’m going to be positioning myself, as a sustainability consciousness and to try and make sure they drive the right line, otherwise I’ll be out.”
De Rothschild is hoping that other aspects of the automotive industry, not only car manufacturers with electric vehicle ranges, will begin to look more widely at the environmental impact they have.
He expects Extreme E, through its dramatic documentary series, to play a part in educating a wider automotive audience about the risks of climate change and the steps necessary to prevent further damage.
“It’s not just the electric car market but you start to see manufacturers like Continental being here, and it gets them to start thinking about their impact,” he explained.
“It starts to get them to think about their role in making tires, how do we make tires more sustainable? That’s a big question. It brings a much wider industry in.
“People are starting to realize that transport is making up a huge percentage of our carbon footprint and we’ve got to get off this addiction to dirty ways of mobility. I think this is a way to start showcasing those conversations.”
De Rothschild Praises Agag’s Progress With Formula E
He was quick to praise the progress made by Agag, chairman and founder of Formula E, in accelerating the adoption of electric cars and raising awareness of green mobility solutions.
As a result, de Rothschild believes the platform already established through Formula E can serve a solid basis for Extreme E to go further and tackle more wide-ranging environmental issues.
“I think it’s been incredibly powerful to see a transition,” he said, when asked about the impact of Formula E on the automotive industry.
“Formula 1 has dominated the landscape of motor racing and to be able to actually transition into a platform that’s got excitement, is starting now to really build depth, I’m amazed at how many races they’re putting on.
“It’s building momentum, and that shows you that we can start to change our assumption. If years ago, you’d said we were going to race Formula E, people wouldn’t have [believed it].
“It showcases possibility. I don’t think Extreme E would have been possible without having Formula E. I think these are all iterations of what is possible.”