A major step in Extreme E’s 2022 plans was announced on Wednesday, as a proposed X-prix in Scotland was raised as a point of discussion in the United Kingdom’s parliament.
During a House of Commons sitting on the day the biannual national budget was published, it was revealed that the government intends to invest £1million (£$1,373,711) into hosting XE on the Outer Hebrides islands which set north-west of the Scottish mainland.
There had already been rumors of XE visiting the Hebrides during its inaugural season after planned events in the Southern Hemisphere were canceled, but the series instead opted to race in Sardinia and in southern England to conclude 2021.
Discussions between XE, the UK government, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (the local council for the Na h-Eileanan an Iar area that encompasses the Outer Hebrides islands) and event organizers continued though with focus switched to being part of season two.
“We are thrilled with this investment and to be exploring racing in Scotland in 2022,” said XE’s founder Alejandro Agag.
“It is a fitting location off the back of COP26 [climate change conference], which will be held in Glasgow imminently, and will allow the conversation on electric mobility and the climate emergency to continue further, inspiring action and highlighting various solutions and mitigation strategies.”
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s leader, councillor Roddie Mackay, said: “Today’s announcement by UK chancellor Rishi Sunak is a ringing endorsement of the climate ambitions of the Outer Hebrides. This is extremely good news for our communities as we seek to position ourselves as low carbon islands.
“COP26 in Glasgow will soon set the global decarbonisation agenda and, as host for the Scottish round of Zero Carbon race series, XE, the Outer Hebrides will again be punching above its weight in climate terms.
XE principles fit well with our aspirations to rapidly decarbonize our island society and economyRoddie Mackay
“It is particularly fitting that an island group on the Atlantic frontier with the most to lose from climate change in terms of extreme weather events and rising sea levels has been selected to host this race and XE principles fit well with our aspirations to rapidly decarbonize our island society and economy.
“One of these principles is the ‘race without a trace’ concept and we will now work closely with XE, environmental agencies and the community at the race location to ensure only positive impacts for the community and the planet and we will ensure that the legacy benefits of this event spread to other island communities from the Butt to Barra.”
Extreme E’s 2022 calendar is far from set in stone, with just the season-opener in Saudi Arabia and finale in Chile totally confirmed to be part of next year’s schedule. Scotland was not part of that initial 12-country list that was revealed in September (see below).
Scotland is however famous for off-road motorsport thanks to the McRae clan, which between the various family members has claimed the World Rally Championship, Asia-Pacific Rally Championship and eight British Rally Championship titles.
Rally Scotland was part of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge a decade ago, and before that Scottish stages have featured in both the WRC and European Rally Championship.
Extreme E has also been on Scottish soil – albeit for a promotional event – when Prince William drove an Odyssey 21 in May.