Extreme E: ODYSSEY 21 tested by the Hansen brothers’

by Nigel Chiu

Extreme E‘s new electric SUV has been driven for the first time this week. FIA World Rallycross Championship stars, Timmy Hansen and Kevin Hansen were at the wheel of ODYSSEY 21 on Thursday.

ODYSSEY 21 completed its first day’s running in France at the Chateau de Lastours testing venue near Carcassonne in the south of France – used by a number of World Rally Championship and Dakar outfits as a proving ground.

Current World RX leader, Timmy Hansen, was the first to drive the Spark Racing Technology-designed and built E-SUV.

“As early as lap two I was able to push. The car felt nimble, agile and responsive – it definitely didn’t feel its size. It drifted as you’d want a four-wheel drive car to do then it pulls and recovers nicely when you apply the throttle,” said Timmy Hansen.

“It has incredibly good driveability compared to a rallycross car. The throttle responds instantly. You get the exact response you want, which you can’t get from a combustion engine with anti-lag devices and the like. It’s instant power when you need it and nothing when you don’t. You can control everything through the pedals.”

TitansRX leader, Kevin Hansen, got his first taste of the car and commented on how the car was great to drive.

Kevin Hansen added, “It’s a great piece of engineering and the people involved are fantastic – working so hard on the organisational, media and, of course, the technical side with the car. Just getting to drive it at this stage is a big advantage and I think I’m capable of doing well in the series. I will be trying very, very hard to be on the grid.”

TCR Scandanavia driver and Continental’s Test Driver for Extreme E, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, is vital in the testing process for Extreme E.

“I’m super excited – this is the first big testing step for us,” said Åhlin-Kottulinsky. “The launch was the first marker with the tyres on the car for the first run to see how everything worked together and looked.

“We can finally test the tyres to their maximum on a rough, off-road surface and it’s a great opportunity to see how much we can push them, where the limit is and how much we can improve them. They will have to take big impacts, and work across multiple surfaces and in different environments.”

The ODYSSEY 21’s peak 400kw (550hp) output is capable of firing the 1650-kilogram, 2.3-metre wide car from 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds, at gradients of up to 130 percent.

Each vehicle comprises a common package of standardised parts, including a powertrain manufactured by Spark Racing Technology with a battery produced by Williams Advanced Engineering.

Sebastien Ogier, Andreas Bakkerud, Timo Scheider, Jamie Chadwick, Kathrine Legge, Lucas Di Grassi, Andre Lotterer as well as Åhlin-Kottulinsky, and the Hansen brothers’ have all expressed their interest to compete in Extreme E.

Extreme E will race in areas already damaged by climate change under strict advice from expert environmentalists. They will use the former Royal Mail ship the St Helena as a floating paddock to take the vehicles to the races by sea, not by air freight.

Development of the ODYSSEY 21 prototype will continue apace ahead of delivery of 12 cars from Spark Racing Technology to teams in Summer 2020. Group testing is planned to take place in Autumn next year before competitors board Extreme E’s unique floating garage, the RMS St. Helena, ahead of the opening race in February 2021.

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