Prince William got behind the wheel of an Extreme E car at Knockhill Racing Circuit in Scotland this weekend ahead of the COP26 summit.
HRH The Duke of Cambridge took part in the test drive as part of a series of visits to innovative projects in Scotland which aim to positively impact climate change during Lord High Commissioner’s Week.
As well as understanding more about the series’ electrification, environment and equality background, the visit provided an opportunity for Prince William to take a look at Extreme E’s hydrogen fuel cell – created in collaboration with British-based AFC Energy – which charges its electric race fleet using zero-emission energy.
Prince William was hosted by Extreme E CEO and founder Alejandro Agag and Adam Bond, CEO of AFC Energy. He was also joined by members of two of Extreme E’s British teams; George Imafidon, a junior engineer on Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team; and driver Catie Munnings, who races for the Andretti United team, who was on hand to show the Prince how to get the best out of the series’ electric race vehicle.
Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “It was a great honour for Extreme E to host Prince William at Knockhill today. It was a fantastic opportunity for us to show him the ways in which we are working towards the same shared goals around a lower carbon future for our planet.
“I think he really enjoyed his experience behind the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21, under the expert instruction of Catie. Perhaps a guest racing appearance in Extreme E beckons in the future!”
Adam Bond, CEO of AFC Energy, said: “It was a true pleasure today to host one of the world’s leading climate ambassadors, His Royal Highness Prince William to demonstrate first-hand the role Hydrogen and Fuel Cells can play in supporting the world’s Net Zero aspirations.
“The environment is a key pillar for our sustainable future and to this end, it was a privilege to showcase how AFC Energy and Extreme E are partnering to deliver not only a world first off-grid charging solution for the inaugural all-electric motorsport series, but more importantly, how this one series is quickly defining a new standard for all industry in its transition away from diesel generation.”
The AFC Energy fuel cell innovation is just one of a selection of technologies utilised by the series with the aim to run the most sustainable motorsport championship possible, and also fits with the spirit of ‘The Earthshot Prize’, a global environmental prize founded by Prince William in October 2020, which aims to discover and scale the best solutions to help repair the planet over the next ten years.
Inspired by President Kennedy’s ‘moonshot’, The Earthshot Prize is based on five ‘Earthshot’ goals – protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world, and fix the climate – which, if achieved by 2030, will repair the planet before irreversible damage occurs. Starting this autumn and every year until 2030, The Earthshot Prize will be awarded to five winners, one per Earthshot, whose innovative solutions make the most progress towards these goals to repair the planet.
The Duke of Cambridge’s visit also precedes the next Extreme E weekend in Dakar, Senegal, and Catie Munnings, who competes for the Andretti United Extreme E team, which finished on the podium in last month’s Desert X Prix, said that Price William was able to get to grips with all-electric off-road racing SUV quite quickly.
She said: “This will certainly be one of those days that I won’t forget in a hurry! It was an absolute honour to meet The Duke of Cambridge and to teach him about the ODYSSEY 21 and some of the key attributes of these incredible machines. Prince William grasped the basic skills quickly and seemed very at ease with driving electric vehicles, maybe my Andretti United team-mate Timmy [Hansen] should be feeling a little threatened!”
The Ocean X Prix –the second event in Extreme E’s inaugural season takes place next weekend (29th – 30th May) at Lac Rose in Dakar, Senegal and is available to watch through a variety of global broadcasters including ITV, BBC online, Sky Sports and BT Sport in the UK.