One of the challenges facing motorsports, whether sustainable or not, is to have a strong, solid, fast and lightweight vehicle structure. Now, when talking in terms of sustainability, the demands are getting higher and higher. This is where Niobium comes in as a key player in this process, but what is it really?
Niobium (Nb) is a chemical element with atomic number 41 that is part of the periodic table. It is a gray, soft, ductile and not very abundant transition metal, located in the mineral niobite, frequently used in alloys, mainly in steels, providing great resistance.
Now, in the automotive and competition sector, niobium transforms vehicles into lighter, more sustainable and energy-efficient parts, where it has been implemented in different areas, such as electronics, emissions reduction and safety.
Regarding Extreme E, its use in the chassis makes the 1,780-kilogram beast lighter, saving energy and improving the ODYSSEY 21’s performance on track. In addition, this element is also used on board the St. Helena, the logistical means of transport that uses the 100% electric off-road category.
Niobium technology is used to manufacture the chassis and the protective cage for the ODYSSEY 21 drivers, resulting in greater resilience and resistance than steel alloy, playing a fundamental role in the safety of the championship’s protagonists, who have already suffered rollovers without major consequences.
Molly Taylor had two 360° spins in season 1 with Rosberg X Racing and was able to continue without any problems. In the second campaign, Christine GZ (Veloce Racing) flipped heavily in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, where she was only affected in one of her feet, while Tanner Foust (McLaren XE) also flipped but without major consequences.
Extreme E works in collaboration with CBMM, the official supplier of niobium technology in the construction of e-SUVs, where they recently extended their partnership link. “The series’ unique set of challenges has proven invaluable as a platform for the development of niobium technology, with improvements made during the first season and into this year. With back-to-back races in Sardinia in July, this innovative material could be heading for its biggest test yet,” said Ali Russell, Extreme E marketing director.
Written by | Ronald Ortega