Race For The Planet With The Extreme E Off Road Challenge

Discussion in 'Auto News' started by GTPNewsWire, Jul 12, 2019 at 12:40 PM.

  1. GTPNewsWire

    GTPNewsWire Contributing Writer

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  2. bloodyboyblue

    bloodyboyblue

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    I like the idea for this series, other than the choice of locations. I mean, I understand WHY they picked them, I just don’t imagine 24 buggies racing around “environmentally sensitive” locations will be good for them in any way. I also assume this will be a streaming-based series, since having spectators at those locations will be even worse for them.

    I like that the racing world is FINALLY clueing in to the fact that SUVs/crossovers are the dominant class of vehicle nowadays. We need more crossover-based racing series, with unique manufacturer bodywork and representation. Hopefully the Rally(cross) and touring car communities are paying attention.
     
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  3. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    The locations are more chosen to highlight anthropogenic climate change* than any particular fragility - sea levels (Indian Ocean), ice melting (Arctic, Glacier), record temperatures and desertification (Sahara) - but I did have the same thought :D
    Yes - they're basically filming each stage with drones. The drones relay the data to the St. Helena, which edits for broadcast.

    *I did my best to avoid talking about it in the article, because I could tell what the comments would have been; I know what the Facebook/Twitter comments will be
     
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  4. GRF

    GRF

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    Now that we have 3 teams named, my guess for the other 3 of 9 are:

    1. Mitsubishi - rich Dakar history and now they're pushing towards electric mobility and SUVs. So makes more sense to join, especially when they could afford it due to low operation costs and could be able to modify the Odyssey 21 chassis (as mentioned before), using e-Evolution ast shell. Plus could be run by eDams - much like its sister Nissan in FE

    2. Mini - Just unveiled their first EV and with the Buggy car in Dakar, why not make an electric version of it, by modifying the chassis (like before). Could be run by Andretti (like to BMW in FE)

    3. Peugeot - Well since they left Dakar, and with Citroen taking WRC activities, as well as pushing for electrification (pretty much like any carmaker), I guess they could give this a try, with 3008 or the recent e-2008 as the body shell. Besides, they also have rich Dakar record, much like Mitsubishi.

    Would love to see from you guys on what other carmakers would join this exciting series!
     
  5. bloodyboyblue

    bloodyboyblue

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    I read that the Amazon location is somewhere that has been recently deforested as well, but still, they’re wilderness, and I don’t think any other racing series would have an event in the Arctic or on a glacier. It’s not much different than any raid event like Dakar but they’ve never marketed themselves as environmentally friendly, and at least they use a proven route.
     
  6. flatdarkmars

    flatdarkmars

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    There's one question which is pointedly avoided on the Extreme E series' website and also in all of the media coverage I've seen so far. If this follows the pattern of recent "electric" entries in the Dakar Rally, then the cars are probably going to be recharged after each stage/race/whatever from diesel generators (aboard their diesel-fueled base ship). Low-speed diesel engines, such as those used aboard ships, can have a thermal efficiency of around 50%. Actual efficiency could be significantly lower if they're going to charge from a separate portable generator set. Then there are conversion losses from battery charging & discharging, motors, wiring, etc. A quick look at some Tesla-enthusiast forums seems to indicate that the total real-world losses come to around 20-30%, so we'll use 25% losses (75% efficiency) as a guesstimate.

    50% generator efficiency * 75% storage/drivetrain efficiency = 37.5% total thermal efficiency.

    Diesel-engined cars operate at about 30-35% thermal efficiency.

    So under optimum conditions these cars are maybe a few percent more ecologically correct than a regular diesel-powered rally raid car like the Peugeot 3008 DKR.

    Now, if they were proposing to carry around a ship-based nuclear power station then I might be able to take their eco-warrior pose seriously, but otherwise it looks more like plain posturing and virtue-signalling aimed at duping people who can't be bothered to do the math.

    EDIT: On a positive note, I like off-road racing in exotic locations, and electric cars are neat technology even if they aren't exactly eco-Jesus.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019 at 3:06 PM
  7. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    I was looking into Volkswagen's ID.R recently, because it has a huge truck with generators to recharge and cool the car after each run.

    It turns out that the generators for ID.R burn glycerin which - and I'm aware of the issues around taking what Volkswagen says about emissions at face value - it says are carbon neutral and "almost pollutant-free". Glycerin has a few sources, but it's a waste by-product of biodiesel production among others.

    It further turns out that Formula E actually uses the exact same generators - they're from a company called AquaFuel (which says they're "very low" NOx and particulate) - and, as Extreme E is the same company as Formula E, there's little reason why Extreme E wouldn't also use them.
     
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  8. flatdarkmars

    flatdarkmars

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    Okay, that's pretty nifty information, and I'll give them partial credit for all that. However, there are some serious energy balance questions surrounding biodiesel & glycerin production. It gets complicated because it depends on exactly what feedstocks the biodiesel & glycerin are made from. When you consider all the factors of production, including the arable land that has to be used for fuel production instead of growing food or leaving it as wilderness, it's not obvious whether the Formula E / Extreme E fuel supply chain is actually a net ecological improvement or not.
     
  9. Famine

    Famine Administrator

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    A couple of years ago, Aquafuel was talking about glycerin production from saltwater algae being viable in a timespan of a handful of years. I don't know if it's more advanced, or even realised, yet.
     
  10. JohnBM01

    JohnBM01 Premium

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    I figured once something like Formula E surfaced, that the trickle down effect would be vast and diverse. Case in point with this series. I never considered myself any advocate for any vehicles or racing machines that don't rely on fossil fuels or anything. I was never a hardcore "tree hugger." However, seeing this series, I am very interested to see how this series will play out. These are some pretty sweet off-road SUVs. I'd say this is pretty interesting since seeing the Jaguar i-Pace racing SUVs.