Duke of Cambridge takes to the track in pioneering electric race car

·3-min read

The Duke of Cambridge impressed professional race drivers as he drove a pioneering electric SUV round a track in Scotland with only a few bumps and scrapes.

William visited the Knockhill Racing Circuit in Fife to view motorsport company Extreme E’s hydrogen fuel cell for charging cars using zero-emission energy.

The duke spoke to the developers of the technology, asking them not to go into too much detail, joking it would go over his head.

He said he was “amazed” at the technology, praising its ability to use waste water from the energy process to wash the company’s race cars.

He spoke to Alejandro Agag, founder and chief executive of Extreme E, and George Imafidon, a junior engineer on Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team.

He was shown the electric race SUV by driver Catie Munnings, who competes for the Andretti United Extreme E team, before driving it on Knockhill’s 4×4 track.

After being told the car’s horsepower, he said: “Put some wings on it, it would take off.”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tour of Scotland
The Duke of Cambridge knocks the barrier on his last lap (Andy Buchanan/PA)

He laughed off bumping his head while climbing out of the car after a training lap, before hitting the track.

The duke drove the car – equipped with a “Prince William” decal with a British flag – around the muddy twists and turns of the circuit.

Despite clipping a chicane on one turn, William emerged to praise from staff and drivers, saying the experience was “awesome” and he was “going to apply for a job” with the company.

“That’s my kind of racing … a track’s a track, tarmac, but this is just that bit of slideyness, that grit, and it’s heavy, you’ve really got to think about what the weight distribution is like.”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tour of Scotland
The Duke of Cambridge test drives the Extreme E Odyssey 21 electric vehicle (Andy Buchanan/PA)

Asked by driver Ms Munnings if he found the limits of the car, he joked: “I found the limit quite quickly. Like you said, you’ve got to go the limit and then you know where it is.”

Ms Munnings was full of praise for the duke.

“It was an honour to meet Prince William and to drive alongside him. It just felt like having one of your mates in the car. He’s so relatable and really relaxed and a really good driver as well.

She added: “I’ve been a rally instructor for years so I was really surprised by his car control and he turned up the power as well to almost the max of what we can do in the Extreme E car as well.

William with Catie Munnings
William with driver Catie Munnings (Extreme E/PA)

“The fact that he could handle that – I think he’s ready to enter one of the races.

She said he was not nervous at all in the car.

She added: “He was lovely, sharing stories in the car about the motorbikes he rides and how he reins it in now that he’s a dad and it was really cool to get to know him.”

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