September 22, 2014
September 13th marked the start of Formula E in Beijing, China. Run by the same governing body as Formula 1 (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile or FIA) it is similar in almost all aspects of the famous motorsport race with one major difference: the cars are electric. Hence the name Formula E. The debut has been highly anticipated thanks to high-powered organizers, celebrity backers, and its message of sustainability.
Formula E organizers want to change the image of electric vehicles and how the public sees them. It is their hope that a younger generation will be drawn to the sport, that electric cars will soon be seen as cool, and that political and social awareness will be raised. With funding from stars like Leonardo Dicaprio and drivers like Lucas di Grassi, they may just reach their goal. It is FIA’s estimation that through its activities over the next 25 years, it will contribute to the purchase of 77 million electric cars.
Designed by France’s Spark Racing Technology and Renault, they are clearly impressive machines. Although just as flashy as their Formula 1 cousins, they are not quite as fast and lack a bit of stamina. The cars can go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds and can reach top speeds of 140 mph. The drivers must also change cars halfway through the race until a battery that can make the full journey is developed.
The cars are also much quieter than Formula 1 cars and some speculate that motorsport fans may miss the old sound of a roaring engine. The Formula E cars do however have a futuristic whoosh sound that adds a little somethin’ somethin’ to the race’s atmosphere. Another difference is that the cars race on city streets, which will demonstrate many things about their performance.
Former Formula 1 driver Lucas di Grassi triumphed over the other drivers in Beijing after a collision between Nico Prost and Nick Heidfeld allowed him to slide into first place. This made him the very first winner of a Formula E race.
Cities holding the races include:
- Putrajaya, Malaysia
- Punta de Este, Uruguay
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Miami, USA
- Long Beach, USA
- Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Berlin, Germany
- London, United Kingdom
The next Formula E race will be held November 22nd in Putrajaya, Malaysia.
Photo Credits: Flickr/Dave Hamster, ItaliaMotori