Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Battery powered Formula E cars on track to race in 2014

The horsepower, the technology, the curves …  I love cars!  A trip to the Detroit Auto Show is an annually scheduled vacation/sick day from work for me and can’t miss a chance to see some racing when the Grand Prix comes to town.  Yet I have to admit that the Sierra Club member in me is just a little torn that my appreciation of NASCAR, Formula One, and Indy Car racing is a little hypocritical when you look at how polluting and wasteful with fuel these races can be.  So my interest was piqued when I heard of a new electric car racing league scheduled to debut in 2014.

FIA Formula E racing promises to be clean, quiet and fast as this new league brings battery powered cars to race on urban streets in cities across four continents next year.  These new race cars can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 3 seconds, which is a faster acceleration  than NASCAR’s stock cars, and can go as fast as 170 miles per hour.  The technology still has room for improvement as the batteries on these cars while racing only last about 25 minutes, so the league is adapting to make do  despite this pitfall.  Each driver will use 2 cars during the race and be allowed to switch vehicles during pit stops when a battery runs low.  Something race fans will have to get use to though is that these cars run quiet so there is no engine hum from the race track.  The VROOM sound of motor muscle is so tied to the image of an engine’s power this could take some getting use to for a lot of people.  Yet overall a more quiet race environment could make for a more enjoyable experience for fans and make locating races in some areas more amenable to neighbors adjoining the course so there are benefits to quiet running.

The Formula E series is scheduled to race in the downtowns of several cities across the globe in 2014 with events in Rio, Rome, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Beijing, London, Miami, Buenos Aires, and Putrajaya. The league's goal is to have 10 teams each with 2 drivers competing in every race.  They plan to have each race as a 1 day event with practice sessions in morning, qualifying around midday, and an one-hour race later in the afternoon.  The focus of race courses is to have them on the bends and straight-aways of regular streets in major cities.  I really like the vibe that these races present!  

While there are still some challenges facing the league in regard to whether or not they will get off the ground for a 2014 season, Formula E has done an impressive job so far of utilizing electric powered cars, lining up race locations, purchasing vehicles, obtaining sponsorship partners, and developing teams.  If you enjoy auto racing keep an eye out for news and information over the next few months on the progress of Formula E as it races towards its  goal of competing on a world stage next year.

For more information, visit www.formula-e-news.com

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