Watch Ken Block Hoon the Prototype Extreme E All-Electric Odyssey 21 Racer
The future is silent, but it’s going to be ok.
Head-Hoonigan-In-Chief Ken Block knows the sounds, pops, and crackles of nearly every rally car around. He’s a man steeped in rally lore and history and has made some of it himself. But the future of Block’s favorite pastime is about to change. To meet tomorrow’s prospects, Block headed to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to drive a prototype of Extreme E’s Odyssey 21 all-electric off-road racer.
Set against the backdrop of the last stage of the Dakar Rally, Block turned up with his usual ready-to-rock attitude about getting behind the wheel of the Odyssey 21. Built in conjunction with Spark Racing Technology, Erik Buell, Williams Advanced Engineering, and Continental Tires, The Drive covered the launch of the Odyssey 21 late last year with Extreme E's debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
After Block’s initial shakedown run, he was quick to point out the Odyssey 21’s Williams Advanced Engineering battery, saying, “The wildest feeling was how instantly the electric torque came on and how fun it was to drive because of that.”
The Odyssey 21’s batteries, which currently puts out 550 horsepower and around 750 pound-feet of torque, make the racer capable of sending the 3,630-pound race buggy to 62 miles per hour in just 4.5 seconds. I mean, what’s not to love?
Wrapped around the Hoonigan is a tubular frame that uses a niobium-reinforced steel alloy and a secondary roll-cage. Three-way adjustable dampers are bolted to the double-wishbone design and deliver 15-inches of travel. To stop the racer’s momentum are six-piston Alcon brake calipers at all four corners, too. Block gave his commentary of the racer after he had some time to play with it and spoke how different his background knowledge was when comparing his internal combustion racecar to the all-electric one.
“It was nice to finally get this thing up to speed,” said Block, adding, “I love how aggressive you can be and move it under braking. I’m so used to the combustion engine where you’re trying to build up the turbo boost, where this is so instant in putting the power down, it’s a lot sooner than I’d think. For me, it’s incredibly fun, but it’s just a matter of adapting my calibrations to what this thing is capable of. It’s all a bit new to me.”
According to Extreme E's original release, the 2021 series will follow a "traditional round-robin format with two groups of six teams—with the top four progressing to the knock-out stage and each driver going head-to-head to earn a place in the final.” The series will be set all over the globe, with tracks cut out of the natural terrain, just like Dakar, Baja, and the World Rally Championship. Locales will include the rainforest, the arctic, and others, though the series is still firming up the precise locations. Teams will also get around together on a ship that's been redesigned to become the series' home, a floating city from port to port.
While Block’s thoughts are welcome, the entire video makes us hungry for the start of the inaugural Extreme E season in 2021. Let's hope we see more of the Odyssey 21 soon.
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