Venturi Automobiles has become the first manufacturer to formally commit to Extreme E, the new electric SUV off-road championship that will debut in 2021.
The Monaco-based manufacturer, which runs a team in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, has embarked on a number of challenges with electric vehicles in harsh environments.
Its Venturi Global Challenges series includes designing an electric vehicle for operation in the Antarctic and a number of land speed records.
“I’m a true adventure seeker and as a consequence I’ve always had a passion for experiencing some of the most remote regions of the world,” said Venturi president Gildo Pastor.
“We have a history of setting world records, we set the fastest recorded land speed with the Venturi Buckeye Bullet (549 km/h – record as yet unbroken) then in 2010, we covered the longest distance with an electric vehicle without assistance (14,900 km – a world premiere) and then in 2012, we undertook the first-ever crossing of south-east Africa without assistance (5,800 km).
“By the end of the year, we’re also going to send the Venturi Antarctica, the first electric polar exploration vehicle, to the South Pole.
“The partnership with Extreme E represents a new opportunity to show the capacity of electric vehicles in the most extreme environments. We’re beyond proud to join this innovative and entertaining concept.”
Extreme E was uncovered by e-racing365 last year and officially launched in January onboard RMS St Helena in London, and will feature electric SUVs racing in harsh environments on five different continents.
Teams will develop their own powertrain and bodywork to fit onto a common base package supplied by Spark Racing Technology.
Prototype testing will get underway in July this year, with delivery of cars to follow in March 2020.
“Gildo and Venturi showed the same belief and commitment in a then-new project when Formula E launched, joining the inaugural grid back in 2014,” said Formula E founder and chairman Alejandro Agag.
“The exciting race format and head-to-head stages in Extreme E are appealing for racing enthusiasts like Venturi – as well as the message of sustainability and electric mobility.
“With Extreme E taking place across five of the most unique and remote locations on the planet, the synergies with Venturi’s drive for innovation and desire to push the envelope are clear to see.”
While Venturi is the first team to officially commit to Extreme E, a number of other manufacturers are teams are interested.
Andretti Autosport, ABT and a team led by 2017-18 Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne have secured provisional entry slots, while Groupe PSA, which owns Citroen, Peugeot and DS among other brands, is known to be holding internal discussions about the concept.