Extreme H: FIA unveils new world championship with hydrogen racing cars
In addition to the Extreme E, there will be another all-electric off-road racing series from 2025: In the so-called Extreme H, vehicles with fuel cells will compete, which will be powered by hydrogen. After one season as an FIA championship, the World Automobile Association wants to grant the XH the status of an FIA World Championship directly in 2026, if all requirements are met. Extreme E will also officially become an "FIA championship" from 2024, albeit without World Championship status.
Plans to switch from battery-electric racing cars to hydrogen power have been doing the rounds repeatedly in recent months. So the announcement does not come as a surprise. However, it is noteworthy that the Extreme E is to continue to exist in parallel and that the FIA wants to grant the Extreme H World Championship status early on. Formula E, for its part, took many years to achieve this: Nyck de Vries won the first official world championship in 2021 - in season 7.
FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Extreme E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag have signed a "non-binding memorandum of understanding" to create the framework for the first hydrogen off-road championship. As a first step, the document defines that the new Extreme H will initially become an "FIA championship" like the XE from its debut season in 2025 - with the intention of advancing to the FIA World Championship from 2026 "if the necessary criteria are met".
To date, there are only seven other FIA World Championships (F1, FE, WEC, WRX, WRC, CCR, Kart) - so the XH would be joining a select group. Development of the Extreme H is already underway. It is planned to present a prototype later this year, it is said.
Ben Sulayem: "Using sustainable power sources is the key objective of the FIA"
"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," says Agag. "Eventual accreditation as an FIA Championship and then an FIA World Championship means we would be amongst the top tier of global motorsport categories. This announcement is a significant first step in the development of our championship and our ground-breaking transition to hydrogen-powered racing."
FIA President Ben Sulayem says: "Using sustainable power sources in motor sport is the key objective of the FIA and part of our long-term strategy, and this series is an ideal showcase for that. Hydrogen is an important part of that mix, and we have developed a set of safety regulations for hydrogen-powered vehicles which is part of the FIA's International Sporting Code."
"Motor sport competition serves as an excellent research and development platform and this new series has great potential," Ben Sulayem continued. "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. We are looking forward to working with Extreme E, sharing our know-how and expertise."