Greenland will host the first electric-powered off-road racing series

Extreme E plans to race electric SUVs near Russell Glacier in 2021.

By Elena Berton, Thomson Reuters Foundation - August 30, 2019
Snow covered mountains rise above the harbour and town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, June 15, 2018. (Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

LONDON — Greenland will be one of five climate-threatened locations to host the first Extreme E championship in 2021, the pioneering all-electric off-road racing series said on Friday.

The Extreme E races will see electric sport utility vehicles race in five of the world’s remote environments, using the global appeal of motorsports to shine a spotlight on the biggest climate threats to the planet.

“Extreme E has a strong sporting purpose to promote the adoption of electric mobility in the fight to lower global emission levels, an issue we can no longer ignore, especially here in Greenland,” said founder Alejandro Agag.

In a 10-part ‘docu-sport’ package, Extreme E will showcase electric SUVs in head-to-head races in areas suffering from environmental damage or under threat. Fox Sports has signed a multi-year broadcast deal. There will be no spectators.

Greenland is home to the world’s second-largest ice sheet, and its accelerating melt rates have become a source of growing concern among climate experts, even as residents often cannot hunt or travel on unreliable sea ice.

Agag is the founder of the all-electric, city-based Formula E motor racing series, now in its fifth season, which features manufacturers like BMW, Audi, Nissan, Citroen and Jaguar.

Transport is responsible for 30 percent of the use of fossil fuels, which are the main cause of global warming, said Peter Wadhams, a professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, who advised the race organisers.

The Greenland races will take place over three days in an area near Russell Glacier, in the central western part of the world’s largest island, E Extreme said.

“Racing over that area won’t have a harmful effect on the environment,” Wadhams said.

“But the potential awareness and education that could be generated through the powerful sporting platform will be enormous.”

E Extreme is scouting four additional endangered locations that are facing climate threats such as deforestation, rising sea levels, desertification, and plastic pollution.

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