At Knockhill Racing Circuit, Scotland, Prince William drove an Extreme E car, the pioneering, purpose-driven series using sport to highlight global climate change issues.
The test drive was organised ahead of COP 26, which takes place in Glasgow later this year, as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting innovative projects in Scotland which aim to positively turn the dial on the climate emergency during Lord High Commissioner’s Week.
As well as understanding more about the series’ electrification, environment and equality background, the visit provided an opportunity for Prince William to take a look at Extreme E’s hydrogen fuel cell – created in collaboration with British-based AFC Energy – which charges its electric race fleet using zero-emission energy.
Prince William was hosted by Extreme E CEO and Founder Alejandro Agag, a driving force behind the electric motorsport revolution, Adam Bond, CEO of AFC Energy, along with members of two of Extreme E’s British teams; George Imafidon, a Junior Engineer on Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team; and driver Catie Munnings, who races for the Andretti United team, who was on hand to show the Prince how to get the best out of the series’ electric race vehicle.
The AFC Energy fuel cell innovation is just one of a selection of technologies utilised by the sport for purpose series with the aim to run the most sustainable motorsport championship possible, and also fits with the spirit of The Earthshot Prize, a global environmental prize founded by Prince William in October 2020, which aims to discover and scale the best solutions to help repair our planet over the next 10 years.
Inspired by President Kennedy’s ‘moonshot’, The Earthshot Prize is based on five simple but ambitious ‘Earthshot’ goals – protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world, and fix our climate – which, if achieved by 2030, will repair the planet before irreversible damage occurs and improve life for us all. Starting this autumn and every year until 2030, The Earthshot Prize will be awarded to five winners, one per Earthshot, whose innovative solutions make the most progress towards these goals to repair the planet, help protect those most vulnerable to the changing climate, and create a healthier, cleaner and better life for us all.
The two organisations are also working with Count Us In to inspire people to make pledges to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint such as walking and cycling more, eating more plant-based foods and even purchasing an electric vehicle. The Extreme E Count Us In Challenge culminates at the end of the year with the Sustainability Award which is given to the team that has the most fans taking steps to lead a less carbon intensive lifestyle.
Alongside AFC Energy, Extreme E is working with a host of sustainable businesses including Zenobe that has provided a second-life battery to help power Extreme E’s team garages and broadcast infrastructure and Polymateria that is providing Extreme E with the world’s first plastic with time-controlled open-air biodegradability that will return quickly and safely to nature if it ends up in the natural environment, while also allowing for recycling to happen.
Not only does the series have big climate crisis awareness ambitions, it is also the first motorsport series in the world to have a fully gender equal sporting format, with it built into the rules that each team must field a male and a female driver. Both drivers compete a lap each in every race, as a driver switch is incorporated at the end of the first lap.
Source: Extreme E