Prince William was given a masterclass in electric racing yesterday at Knockhill Racing Circuit, Scotland, thanks to Extreme E, the pioneering, purpose-driven series using sport to highlight global climate change issues.
The Duke of Cambridge 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.
Munnings was one of the stars of the Desert X Prix race in AlUla, Saudi Arabia — the first ever Extreme E event — where her heroics alongside partner Timmy Hansen ensured Andretti United finished third in the standing despite some major technical issues.
The test drive was organized ahead of the Ocean X Prix at Lac Rose in Dakar, Senegal on May 29-30, as well as COP 26, which takes place in Glasgow later this year, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting innovative projects in Scotland that 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.
The AFC Energy fuel cell innovation is just one of a selection of technologies used by the 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 the planet over the next 10 years.
Inspired by President Kennedy’s “moonshot,” the Earthshot Prize is based on five simple but ambitious “Earthshot” goals — to protect and restore nature, clean the air, revive the oceans, build a waste-free world, and fix the climate — which, if achieved by 2030, will repair the planet before irreversible damage occurs. 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 toward these goals to repair the planet.
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.