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Extreme E embraces high-performance natural fibre composites

  • Sustainable lightweighting specialist Bcomp partners with Spark for all-electric race SUV

  • Extreme E car features natural fibre bodywork using Bcomp’s ampliTex™ and powerRibs™

  • Bcomp’s solutions enable bodyworks with 85% less CO2 cradle-to-gate than carbon fibre

  • Five-race Season 1 will see intense off-road action from the arctic to the amazon

  • First event, Extreme E Desert X Prix, to take place in Saudi Arabia 3rd & 4th April

Bcomp ampliTex™ + powerRibs™ natural fibre bodywork - © QEV Technologies

Fribourg, Switzerland. Swiss sustainable lightweighting specialist Bcomp supplies its natural fibre composite solutions for all nine Spark Odyssey all-electric SUVs competing in the inaugural season of the Extreme E Championship. Starting in Saudi Arabia for the Desert X Prix, the state-of-the-art Spark Odyssey 21 off-road racing SUVs will compete clad with Bcomp’s sustainable lightweighting solutions in place of conventional carbon fibre.

 

Pushing the natural properties of flax fibre to the limit, Bcomp’s innovative ampliTex™ and powerRibs™ technologies are bringing a new dimension to sustainability in motorsport. The natural fibre bodyworks designed by Spark Racing Technology will be put to the test across five brutal race weekends spanning four continents.


The Extreme E Championship is an FIA-sanctioned international off-road racing series that seeks to highlight the impact of climate change while promoting sustainability and the adoption of electric vehicles. As such, Spark – the manufacturer of the race-spec Odyssey SUV – focussed on bringing together frontier electric vehicle technologies and industry-leading sustainability experts.

Théophile Gouzin, Technical Director of Spark Racing Technology said: “Bcomp’s natural fibre technologies are a perfect match for the goals we set for ourselves in Extreme E, achieving the highest level of sustainable performance and safety. We are very happy about the successful collaboration with Bcomp as both companies are technology leaders in sustainable motorsports.”

Bcomp’s proprietary powerRibs™ reinforcement grid uses the high specific bending stiffness of flax to boost natural fibre performance to the level of carbon fibre while offering an 85% cradle-to-gate CO2 reduction. In combination with the state-of-art ampliTex™ fabrics, Bcomp’s solutions enable sustainable bodyworks with the same stiffness and weight as carbon fibre while improving safety and damping. Natural fibre bodyworks minimise the risk of injuries of drivers, marshals, and spectators thanks to a ductile breaking behaviour, which, in case of an impact, results in pieces with blunt edges instead of producing sharp and dangerous debris like carbon fibre. Additionally, the 250% better damping properties improve driver comfort by lowering vibrations and noise levels, reducing fatigue over the course of a race.

 

While Bcomp’s award-winning technologies are already used in 16 racing series around the world, the applications are not restricted to motorsport. From automotive interior panels for electric performance brand Polestar, to luxury yachting and the European Space Agency’s latest natural-fibre satellite panels, Bcomp’s technologies are relied upon wherever weight, stiffness and sustainability are important.

Christian Fischer, CEO and Co-Founder at Bcomp, commented: “We are thrilled to be working with Spark to provide our sustainable lightweighting solutions for the Odyssey bodywork. Having our technology involved in this series is an incredible opportunity for Bcomp; racing in such a wide variety of locations, climates and terrains will really test our materials and conclusively demonstrate their capability and performance. Sustainable composites offer a practical path forward for so many industries, motorsport included. Given the volume of production, consumption, waste and emissions involved in the supply, use and disposal of carbon fibre, the implementation of sustainable composites is a clear step in the right direction.


Spark has managed to deliver a vehicle that is not only ready for the incredibly tough conditions of Extreme E, but also one that lives up to Extreme E’s ethos and ambition. It has been an incredibly exciting project to take part in and we can’t wait to see our natural fibre composites speeding across the desert on the first race weekend.”

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