Formula E Reportedly Mulling 'Extreme E' Off-Road Racing Series

The series would reportedly bring electric racing to places like the Arctic and the Himalayas.

Nose of Antonio Felix da Costa (POR), MS + AD Andretti Formula E Team, Andretti ATEC-03.
Dominic Romney

Formula E is developing a new series called "Extreme E" that would see electric SUVs race on difficult terrain in places like the Arctic and the Himalayas, reports Motorsport.com. The series is reportedly in the early stages of development, but is expected to launch in 2020, the website said.

"Extreme E--all I can say is that it's a new project that will be operated by Formula E," Alejandro Agag, the series' CEO, told Motorsport.com. Agag confirmed that 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner and recently-appointed McLaren Formula 1 sporting director Gil de Ferran will lead the project.

Extreme E will reportedly use a spec chassis, but automakers will be allowed to use different bodies styled to look like production SUVs. That would make Extreme E a bit like NASCAR, where strict technical regulations are enforced but automakers clothe their race cars in distinct bodywork. Limited leeway for technical development is already the case in Formula E, where teams use a spec chassis and are only allowed to alter certain components of the powertrain.

Formula E is already popular with automakers, but an SUV-centric series would be especially relevant right now. Reigining Formula E Constructor's Champion Audi is about to launch its e-tron electric SUV. Mercedes-Benz, which is set to join Formula E next season, is prepping its EQC electric SUV, and the Jaguar I-Pace is already on sale. The latter will be used in a one-make race series supporting Formula E races.

Formula E organizers seem keen on expanding electric racing beyond single seaters. In addition to Extreme E, Formula E is expected to host Roborace events using electric cars with autonomous technology during its own race weekends. Roborace has conducted some demonstrations at Formula E events, but it's unclear when the series will get underway.