Prince William was given a masterclass in electric car driving at Knockhill Racing Circuit in Scotland with Extreme E. This is a pioneering zero-emissions race series using sport to highlight global climate change issues.
The test drive was organised ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties COP 26, which takes place in Glasgow later this year. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are currently visiting innovative projects in Scotland which aim to positively turn the dial on the climate emergency 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. This was 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, who is the driving force behind the electric motorsport revolution, and with Adam Bond, CEO of AFC Energy.
The Prince also met with members of two of Extreme E’s British teams including George Imafidon, a junior engineer on Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team and driver Catie Munnings. She races for the Andretti United team and 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 (Munnings). 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 sport with the aim to run the most sustainable motorsport championship possible. This 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 10 years.
The Earthshot Prize is based on five simple but ambitious goals to protect and restore nature, clean our air, revive our oceans, build a waste-free world and fix our climate. If achieved by 2030, this will repair the planet before irreversible damage occurs and improve life for all. Starting this autumn and every year until 2030, the Earthshot Prize will be awarded to five winners with innovative solutions for each of the goals.
Catie Munnings, Andretti United Extreme E race team, said: “Prince William grasped the basic skills quickly and seemed at ease with driving electric vehicles. Sustainability is a central messaging pillar of Extreme E and with the Earthshot Prize, it’s fantastic to see that we are all working towards a common goal of a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly future.”