The ABB FIA Formula E Championship 2017/18, the first all-electric Road World Championship for single-seaters worldwide concluded in New York this Summer. Here – as in other major cities like Hong Kong, Buenos Aires and Berlin – the cars were driven with one hundred percent electrical energy.
Standing behind this race series, which started in 2014, is the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the umbrella organization of the international motor sport, which is responsible also for the Formula 1, the World Rally Championship, the World Touring Car Championship and other competitions.
Motorsport fascinates many millions of people all over the world. Just ten years after Carl Benz invented the first automobile, the first car race took place in 1894 along the route from Paris to Rouen. Since then, enthusiasts have been thrilled by the deafening noise of the cars and the smell of gasoline.
Of course, this has nothing to do with energy saving, environment protection and sustainability. For example, a Formula 1 racing car consumes 60 to 80 litres of premium gasoline per 100 kilometres. On a weekend, about 1,600 litres of fuel flow through the injectors per team. This would allow a mid-range car to travel two years or 30,000 kilometres. It’s completely different with electric racing cars. However, anyone who has the idea that they would chug comfortably on their city courses, is wrong.
Just for comparison: a Formula E car accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h in 2.9 seconds. A Formula One racer needs a little less, namely 2.0 to 2.5 seconds. And while in Formula 1 maximum speeds of over 300 km / h are measured, the FIA limit the electric racers at 225 km / h.
Formula E is more than just a racing series. It’s a competitive platform for international car manufacturers where relevant techniques for road use can be developed and tested. The series is also a driving force for the conception of electric vehicles and for the improvement of the driving experience.
But the image of the e-car has suffered in the past, partly because the manufacturer’s information in the brochures usually deviates greatly from reality. For example, there are not enough charging stations and charging takes between 30 minutes and four hours, depending on the model and the battery. Of course that’s not a problem for the Formula E teams. Their battery power lasts for the full race distance. And the audience has fun, especially because big manufacturing names are in the game but also because the drivers excite, some of whom have already been successful in Formula 1 and other series.
In the 2017/18 season there were ten teams with 20 drivers:
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler. Audi was only a partner of the German Formula-E-Team ABT for three years. Since the 2017/18 season, the auto brand from Ingolstadt has been represented in the electric series with its own factory team.
Dragon Racing, based in Los Angeles and founded in 2006 by Jay Penske, son of IndyCar legend Roger Penske, was committed to the IndyCar series until 2013.
DS Virgin Racing. The former Formula 1 racing team Virgin Racing is supported by Citroën, whose top brand DS is responsible for the powertrain.
Mahindra Racing. The motorsport subsidiary of one of India’s largest car manufacturers focuses entirely on the electric series.
MS & AD Andretti. The team of racing legend Michael Andretti, son of Formula 1 World Champion Mario Andretti, is technically supported by BMW and will become a BMW factory team by the end of 2018.
NIO, the factory team of the Chinese electric car start-up NIO, which wants to leave Tesla behind in just a few years.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing. After twelve years of motorsports abstinence, the successor of the former Formula 1 racing team since the 2016/17 season starts in Formula E.
Renault e.dams won the Formula E Championship for the first three years in a row. Formula 1 legend Alain Prost joined as team manager.
Techeetah from China gained first experience in motorsports in Formula E. Behind Techeetah stands the sports marketing and management company SECA.
Venturi, known for years for its speed records, is supported by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio and ex-DTM driver Marc Gindorf.
With so much prominence in Formula E, it’s not surprising that the sponsors are literally flooding in, especially those who are interested in top-level sport, as well as topics such as global warming, air pollution control etc.
Allianz for example, one of the largest insurance groups in the world, backs Formula E. Close to the racetrack, the company has plenty of entertainment in its Allianz Village. This ranges from the exhibition of current hybrid and electric cars from Renault and BMW to race simulators, where the fans can compete. In addition, autograph sessions take place in the Allianz E-Village.
So what about the future? In addition to Audi, BMW and Mercedes will be involved in Formula E racing going forward. For the 2019 season Porsche has now announced its entry into the all-electric racing series. Thanks to the commitment of the major manufacturers, Formula E is set to become more popular as it transforms into the green alternative to Formula 1.