Extreme E unveils Pioneer 25 hydrogen race car

Sustainable motorsport pioneer Extreme E has unveiled ‘Pioneer 25’, a race car developed for the world’s first hydrogen racing series that starts in 2025.

The ‘Pioneer 25’ race car and first racing schedule was revealed on June 27, 2024, in London aboard the series’ St. Helena vessel, which is used to transport the Extreme E’s freight and infrastructure.

For the 2025 race series, 10 rounds will take place across five locations, opening in Saudi Arabia before heading to the UK, Germany and Italy, and finishing in the USA.  

Pioneer 25 has been designed and manufactured by Spark Racing Technology and equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell from Symbio, Extreme H’s Official Fuel Cell Provider. According to Extreme E, the car has undergone an intensive testing programme equivalent to three seasons of racing in readiness for its debut campaign.

Symbio will provide a 75kW hydrogen fuel cell replacing the battery as the principal energy source. The hydrogen fuel cell powers the battery pack that is produced and supported trackside by Fortescue ZERO. Hydrogen fuel cells are already being used behind the scenes in Extreme E, where it provides the energy source to the vehicle’s batteries.

The Pioneer 25’s peak 400kw (550hp) output is capable of sending the 2200kg, 2.4m-wide race car from 0-100kph in 4.5 seconds, and scale gradients of up to 130 per cent.

Each Pioneer 25 raced in Extreme H comprises a common package of standardised parts from Spark Racing Technology. One open area for teams is the ability to redesign front and rear bodywork and lights to replicate the look of everyday car models.

Mark Grain, technical director at Extreme E, said: “There has been no compromise with the Pioneer 25. Spark Racing Technology and Symbio have done a tremendous job in developing the Extreme H car, which is fit for our exciting new era as a hydrogen-powered championship.

“We’ve learnt a lot from the ODYSSEY 21 [Extreme E off-roader race car], which we have carried forwards, but it’s an all-new chassis and a purpose-built racing car for the hydrogen fuel cell. We wanted the racing to be more intense and we wanted the race cars to be faster.

“The Pioneer 25 is a significant upgrade on the ODYSSEY 21. Overall performance of the car has taken a big step forward. The all-new suspension geometry with driver adjustable shock absorbers from FOX on the Extreme H car provides a great platform for the power and torque that's going to be available to the drivers.

“We’ve demonstrated EVs can cope with very harsh environments and racing in hard conditions in Extreme E, so moving to Extreme H is a natural progression. We want to demonstrate to the world that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can be exciting, they can be rugged and they can be very robust. We want to carry through that development with the Pioneer 25.”

The next major milestone for Extreme H will be the first public test of the Pioneer 25, which will take place at Extreme E’s Hydro X Prix in Scotland between 13-14 July).

Watch this space for an upcoming feature on Extreme H in the September 2024 edition of The Engineer

Tech specs & features:

  •   Top speed: 200Kph
  •   Max power: 400kW/550bhp 

  •   Weight: 2200kg
  •   Dimensions: 6m x 1.9m x 2.4m
  •   Front track width:1m
  •   Rear track width: 1m
  •   Wheel base: 3.2m
  •   Chassis: Tubular space frame with composite energy absorbing impact structures
  •   Suspension: Double wishbone front and rear
  •   Shock absorbers: Supplied and supported trackside by FOX and feature driver controlled on-track adjustability via their unique      Live Valve technology.
  •   Hydrogen fuel cell output: 75kW, 450 – 850V
  •   Battery output: 325kW, 850V, 36kWh
  •   Hydrogen capacity: 0Kg/50L
  •   eMotors: Front and rear eMotors both producing 200kW power
  •   Acceleration: 0-100Kph in 4.5 seconds
  •   Pioneering Symbio hydrogen fuel cell technology
  •   All-new purpose-built chassis, manufactured by Spark Racing Technology
  •   Improved suspension geometry
  •   Central single-seater driving position
  •   Increased torque

Extreme E is an off-road racing series that takes place globally in areas impacted by climate change. Extreme H will have its own scientific committee, consisting of academics from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, who will advise on the series’ education and research programmes, event logistics and impact as well as the recommendation of positive legacy initiatives to support local communities in each race location.