Hydrogen race series Extreme H gets FIA green light

The first ever hydrogen-powered race series is set to get underway in 2025 following talks between Extreme E and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA).

Extreme E

Extreme H will largely follow the same formula as Extreme E, featuring high-powered off-road SUVs. However, rather than the electricity used in Extreme E, the Extreme H SUVs will be powered by hydrogen. A prototype Extreme H race vehicle is due to be unveiled before the end of this year and it is hoped that the new race format will become an accredited FIA World Championship series from 2026.

“What started as a conversation many years ago about racing in extreme environments, showcasing the incredible performance and innovation of E-SUVs, has now demonstrated enormous growth and further pioneering technical advances as we move forward with the transition to hydrogen and Extreme H – a world-first,” said Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Extreme E.

“Establishing alongside the FIA a world-first hydrogen racing world championship will be a momentous milestone for Extreme E and the new Extreme H series. Eventual accreditation as an FIA Championship and then an FIA World Championship means we would be amongst the top tier of global motorsport categories, and Extreme H would be the first-ever world championship racing series of its kind.

“Once it achieves FIA World Championship status, Extreme H will continue what Extreme E started as a pioneering motorsport series and we look forward to delivering another spectacular sporting product.”

Extreme E’s first season took place in 2021, racing electric SUVs in a variety of off-road settings, from the desert of Saudi Arabia to the Arctic Circle in Greenland. Founded by Agag - who also set up the Formula E race series - Extreme E has positioned itself as a sporting event with a purpose, attempting to draw attention to the environmental threats faced by the different locations where races are held. The series has attracted major names from motorsport, including Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, and has also sought to break down gender boundaries by pairing male and female drivers on each race team.

“It is encouraging that such a major motor sport entity as Extreme E with its renowned line-up of teams sees the same potential in hydrogen technology,” said FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.  

“Motor sport competition serves as an excellent research and development platform and this new series has great potential. Having the technology tested in the harsh environment of off-road racing in all types of conditions should benefit the whole industry, and in the longer term make mobility more environmentally friendly for everyday users of the road.”