Excessive E continues to be engaged on plans for the complete hydrogen-fueled championship it initially introduced on the 2022 season opener. Since then it has been engaged on a prototype car, and that’s nonetheless on track to start testing this summer time.
However whereas that timeline has remained heading in the right direction, what’s much less clear is what the “Excessive H” venture means for the sequence as an entire. Initially the plan was for the hydrogen class and the present battery-electric class to co-exist, however given the shortage of distinguished hydrogen racing sequence, Excessive E and Formulation E sequence founder Alejandro Agag has advised the brand new growth may develop into the championship’s sole focus.
“We’re utilizing gasoline cells and I believe it’s actually related to create a platform for motorsport and hydrogen — there isn’t actually motorsport with hydrogen,” he informed choose media together with RACER on the current Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia. “There’s been some makes an attempt — Le Mans, Dakar with a truck and so forth — however I believe the format just isn’t the proper one. Our format is the proper one to check hydrogen. I believe quick races like those Excessive E does would be the good format for hydrogen.”
“We nonetheless have to determine it out,” he conceded. “We haven’t determined but if we’re going to do each, if we’re going to deal with hydrogen, if we’re going to transition — each after which hydrogen solely. We’ve got ongoing discussions with the groups after which we’ll decide which technique to go. They might even be totally different weekends.
“My feeling is that we are going to focus primarily on hydrogen. However we have now to nonetheless make the choice.”
Excessive E’s sister sequence Formulation E has simply launched its third-generation race automotive, the 2 earlier than it every lasting for 4 years earlier than being changed. With Excessive E having simply entered its third season — one which will likely be twice so long as these earlier than when it comes to championship rounds — naturally speak has already began relating to a Gen2 Excessive E racer.
Agag says the introduction of that can coincide with the introduction of a hydrogen car, no matter what type that can take, however finally the timeline won’t have to match that of Formulation E’s automotive growth.
“I believe the Gen2 would be the hydrogen vehicles,” Agag says. “Then, we might resolve to do one other battery.
“The factor is, with Formulation E we wanted to develop alongside the generations as a result of within the first technology the vehicles couldn’t end the race — we wanted two vehicles. Then with Technology 2 we completed the races however the vehicles have been fairly large. Then Technology 3 lastly we completed the race with a smaller automotive. Then we’re going to do ultra-fast charging subsequent yr.
“In Excessive E these vehicles are completely able to racing as a lot as we wish. For our format, these vehicles are good.”
One other query mark is whether or not the vehicles will take the type of hydrogen electrical, or hydrogen combustion.
“We have to discover hydrogen combustion,” Agag insisted. “Gas cells have a bonus with completely zero emissions, Combustion of hydrogen has sure emissions.
“We’ve got to investigate precisely how a lot the emissions are, NOx for positive. However they’ve sure benefits: for instance, combustion makes noise. Some folks discover that clearly thrilling for motorsport.”
If Excessive E (or Excessive H) chooses to not go down the hydrogen combustion route, Agag says it could possibly be a viable various for Formulation 1 as a substitute of e-fuels. Whereas F1 is already exploring the usage of e-fuels because it appears to be like to develop into carbon impartial by 2030, he factors out they arrive with their very own pitfalls.
“I believe they may proceed to be combustion. I believe perhaps e-fuels, however e-fuels, for me, is a expertise that’s very area of interest and Formulation 1, for me, shouldn’t be area of interest,” he says. “It needs to be expertise that may be deployed for mass adoption and e-fuels, even the value of the fuels goes to be, in my view, for some sports activities vehicles or particular conditions.
“Combustion of hydrogen could possibly be the long run for Formulation 1, so having the testbed of combustion of hydrogen will likely be essential, however the expertise’s not prepared but. E-fuels launch CO2, the identical quantity of CO2 as gasoline, however in principle, you’ve gotten (already) captured that CO2 to make the e-fuel. You could have captured the CO2, that’s why it’s impartial.
“Nevertheless it has some points. In principle, the oil comes from forests that thousands and thousands of years in the past absorbed CO2 that you’re releasing again into the environment, so in principle it’s additionally carbon impartial.”
In addition to the racing vehicles themselves Excessive E’s St. Helena, the ship which it makes use of to move your complete sequence infrastructure world wide, may be powered by hydrogen. At present the ship’s livery options the phrase “Not electrical… but” however Agag admits it is going to stay that means for a while.
“The one chance — I want just a little extra money for this — is hydrogen, really. As a result of battery powered, the entire ship could be a battery, 90% of the quantity of the ship could be a battery,” he explains. “Hydrogen expertise is the one that may energy ships, so we’re speaking with some companions about exploring that chance.
“However I don’t know if we are able to retrofit St. Helena — we’d perhaps should make an entire new ship with an enormous carbon footprint to make a ship, in order that’s form of the place the steadiness is. However we don’t quit — let’s see. It’ll say ‘Not electrical… but!’ for some time.”