Extreme E, the off-road all-electric SUV rally series is just under two weeks away and the excitement is building.
ITV has just agreed to broadcast the races live, BT, Sky Sports and BBC online also have deals in place with a global audience predicted to be upwards of 200mln.
Teams are being sponsored by F1 legends Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg among others while the cars look like something out of a futuristic sci-fi film.
In short, it is set to be a huge event, but as well as an endurance marathon for the cars and drivers, it will also be a major test of the mobile renewable power systems.
Speaking to Proactive last week, Bond said it will be a great opportunity for people to see the possibilities that hydrogen presents to decarbonise off-grid power.
The terrain will be tough and Bond says he and his team have been to locations where even traditional diesel generators failed, but months have been spent putting the system together and designing it for a number of different combinations and permutations of environmental conditions.
“We spent a month commissioning it, again, under all different circumstances. And we’re as confident as we’re going to be, it’s going to be a great showcase for AFC and our technology.
“When we first spoke to Extreme E this was about them buying a piece of kit from us, or leasing it with some form of sort of commercial transaction and, and it is that.
“We’re being paid for the system. So, for us, it is revenue-generating, which is brilliant.”
Win, win for AFC Energy
Bond though is also looking at a wider picture.
“The whole agenda of Extreme E is really promoting the challenges of climate change and the solutions that are emerging for the transition away from fossil fuels.
“So while it is a commercial transaction in its own right, and we have been paid for it, the marketing is something you can’t buy for a company like us.”
AFC got involved in the project in July of last year when it agreed to provide its proprietary, zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell technology to power the vehicles.
The fuel cell system has been configured to operate across the desert, arctic and high-altitude locations and will power all of the Championship’s ODYSSEY 21 electric SUVs in its inaugural season of racing.
Bond adds: “We are obviously getting a lot of brand awareness as a result and some of the largest distributors of diesel engines in the world, who have now picked up on this story, are contacting us saying we need to know more.”
The first race is scheduled for 3-4 April 2021 in the Saudi Arabian desert followed by Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Argentina.
At 50p, AIM-listed AFC is valued at £332mln.