Its official. Extreme E is coming to Nepal! Extreme E is a proposed class of auto racing that only uses electric SUVs to race off-road in extremely remote parts of the world. The fourth location on Extreme E’s five-event calendar—its Mountain round—has been confirmed, with the pioneering electric SUV off-road racing series set for Nepal’s Mustang district in the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world.
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, made the announcement alongside Yogesh Bhattarai, Nepal’s Minister for Tourism, at the race site. Agag said: “We are here in the heart of the Himalayas, in the Mustang Region, to announce that Extreme E will be the first race to ever be staged in the highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas.
“The Himalayan region is a spectacular, unique environment with incredible terrain for off-road racing, which will provide the sternest of tests to the world’s leading drivers, engineers, and teams. We are literally in the heart of the mountains here, it is an incredible place.”
And they are going to do it in Odyssey 21, the racecar that will run in the off-road event. The all-electric prototype SUV had made its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. The wheels alone measure 940mm (37 inches) in diameter, according to Extreme E’s organizers. The SUV’s body is 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) wide, 1.9 meters (6.2 feet) tall, 4.4 meters (14.4 feet) long, and the SUV weighs 1,650 kg (3,638 pounds). And yet it can go from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 4.5 seconds.
The championship will head to the Kali Gandaki valley—site of the deepest gorge in the world—25 km south of Jomsom, amid the stunning Annapurna region of Nepal. Mustang district, approximately 400 km from Kathmandu, hangs 2,750 meters above sea level. Drivers and teams will have to contend not just with the altitude but also elevation changes, coarse gravel, deep ruts, and rocky obstacles, as well as the Gandaki River, one of the Ganges’ major tributaries.
Yogesh Bhattarai, Nepal’s Minister for Tourism, said: “We are extremely excited to welcome Extreme E to Nepal. The country has a unique natural and cultural diversity and harbors a number of instantly recognizable world landmarks such as Mount Everest—the tallest peak on Earth—and Lumbini—the birthplace of Buddha. We are confident that hosting this international series will serve to further our global appeal whilst being able to also shine an important spotlight on the climate issues which face our region and their solutions.
“Nepal is an exotic destination full of national treasures. Driving through our magnificent scenery with Extreme E’s pioneering electric SUVs will be once-in-a-lifetime experience for the competitors, adventure enthusiasts and the fans watching on. It will be some spectacle!”
According to the UN, while Nepal itself sits well down the list of contributors to the climate crisis it ranks fourth in terms of its vulnerability to climate change. The Himalayas have the largest concentration of glaciers outside the polar caps, and some 66 percent of its ice—the lifeline of river basins and ecosystems across Asia—could be lost as a result of climate variability, affecting hundreds of millions of people.
Extreme E is working with local experts and groups in each of its locations to implement positive legacy initiatives based on local needs. In Nepal, it has already begun consulting with the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) on ways to support regional programs and institutional partnerships.
ICIMOD, based in Kathmandu, is an intergovernmental knowledge sharing center serving the eight-member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH): Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, and Pakistan. More than 240 million people depend directly on the HKH, with a further 1.9 billion relying on the zone for food, water, and energy. Indirectly, more than 35 percent of the world’s population benefits from HKH resources and its ecosystem.
The region is undergoing rapid change, driven by forces such as climate change, natural disasters, economic growth, infrastructure development, globalization, land-use change, migration, and urbanization. Each has major consequences on the HKH and its people. A recent ICIMOD report, assessing the pressures on the HKH, cited the need for immediate action at national, regional and international levels with a focus on further investment and co-operation—as well as concerted action—to limit global warming to less than 1.5 Celsius by 2100.
The report collated nine Mountain Priorities, in-line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals:
• End poverty in all forms everywhere in the mountains.
• Promote sustainable production systems to assure food security and income for mountain peoples,
• Achieve gender and social equity.
• Ensure year-round water supply.
• Ensure universal access to clean energy.
• Halt biodiversity loss and land degradation and manage ecosystems sustainably.
• Ensure integration between adaption to climate change, disaster risk reduction, and sustainable development.
• Build resilient, equitable and inclusive mountain communities.
• Promote a mountain-specific agenda for achieving the SDGs through increased regional co-operation.
Policy messages defined in the report outlined a need for improved long-term hydro-meteorological monitoring for more robust climate change analysis, more reliable projections for warming to discern cryosphere (ice) dynamics across the HKH, and planning focused on disaster warning systems, management and mitigation to combat extreme weather. ICIMOD aims to further understanding of the impacts of human influence and climate change on the stability of mountain ecosystems and the livelihoods of mountain people, helping locals to adapt.
David Molden, Director General of ICIMOD, said: “With its fantastic mountains, culture, biodiversity, and water resources, the Hindu Kush Himalaya is the pulse of the planet. When the pulse is fine, we know that humanity is taking care of the environment. Today we find that this pulse is under threat from climate and environmental change. We need to do all we can as a global society to raise awareness globally on these issues, and that is why it is important that Extreme E does draw attention to this region. We also appreciate that Extreme E’s legacy project will help us to protect the pulse.”
Extreme E’s purpose is to shine a light on the environments in which it is set to race—each damaged by the effects of human interference and climate change—while promoting the adoption of electric vehicles in the fight to help preserve the environment and protect the planet.
Nepal is the fourth location to be announced for Extreme E’s inaugural 2021 campaign. It joins the Amazon Rainforest in Para, Brazil; Kangerlussuaq in Greenland; and Saudi Arabia, where the location is to be confirmed. The final location, which will be a coastal event, is still to be revealed as well. Further announcements on teams, partners, locations and drivers will be made over the coming weeks, with Season 1 underway in February 2021.
Sneak peek of Royal Enfield Interceptor 650
In keeping with its ambition of expanding into and leading the global mid-size motorcycle segment (250-750cc), Royal Enfield is all set to launch the much-awaited Interceptor 650 in the Nepali market.
Doing the honors will be Vivek Automobiles Pvt Ltd, under MV Dugar group, which is the sole authorized distributor of Royal Enfield in Nepal. The Interceptor 650 first made its appearance at the 2017 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan; the Indian launch was in October 2018. Although the Interceptor 650 arrives pretty late in the Nepali market, its retro styling and riding dynamics coupled with aggressive pricing (approximately in the region of Rs 12-13 lakhs) is likely to make it a blockbuster hit among the retro motorcycle enthusiasts.
In terms of design, the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Twin draws inspiration from the yesteryear Royal Enfield Interceptor through its teardrop tank with traditional knee recesses, comfortable, quilted dual seat and wide, braced handlebars reminiscent of the street scrambler style that emerged in ’60s California. While in its essence it retains the design and old-school character, it has all the underpinnings of a modern machine.
The fuel-injected, air/oil-cooled 650cc parallel-twin motor produces a punchy 47 Bhp at 7,100rpm and 52Nm at 4,000 rpm and is mated to a six-speed gearbox. The motorcycles also get a slip-assist clutch. Royal Enfield says this characterful engine delivers oodles of torque across the power-band. Also new to the Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is the new six-speed gearbox which has been developed for this motorcycle. The gearbox is supported by its slip/assist clutch which prevents wheel-hop when down-shifting gears at high speeds.
The motorcycle employs a double cradle, steel tubular frame as well as 41mm front forks and twin, coil-over shocks at the rear. The motorbike is equipped with classic 18-inch front and rear Pirelli tires and twin shock absorbers, along with front and rear disc brakes with ABS. The braking system has 320mm disc at the front and 240mm disc at the rear. The Bosch dual-channel Anti-Lock Braking System is offered as standard, while the fuel tank capacity is 13.4 liters.
According to the company, the Interceptor 650’s comfortable and commanding riding position makes it both fun and practical on all types of terrain. The ground clearance is 174mm and seat height 804 mm. ND