THINK ELECTRIC cars are just slow, buzzing trollies for vegans and image-conscious celebs? Well, think again – the world's first fully electric motor racing series will kick off next year, it has been confirmed.
The announcement fittingly came yesterday, on what is internationally celebrated as ‘Earth Day’.
The FIA Formula E Championship will cover 10 major cities around the world, starting in arguably the electric vehicle capital of the world, LA. It will then move to Miami, London, Rome, Beijing, Putrajaya (Malaysia), Buenos Aires and Rio de Janiero. The other two calendar spots will be announced at a later date.
A total of 10 teams with two drivers each have so far expressed their intentions to race, although organisers have purchased 42 cars – 40 of which will be raced in the 2014 season, and two of which will be used for crash testing and development.
Each model of electric racer, developed by Spark Racing Technology, will provide autonomy of about one hour in full-electric mode and will hit a top speed of around 225km/h – all with zero emissions.
As part of the city’s hosting of the inaugural race, LA has upgraded or installed 121 public charging stations for the cars. As well as this, at the promotional launch citizens were able to get a first-hand look at a Formula E car, driven through the streets by ex-F1 driver Lucas di Grassi. The Brazilian will also be the official test driver for the series.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the series, which is designed to promote interest and investment in environmentally-friendly vehicles and sustainable motoring, comes as a boost to a city which has already led the way in electric vehicle infrastructure.
“By hosting Formula E Championship races here, we ensure our place as a leader in the charge to generate awareness for electric vehicles and their benefits,” he said.
“By selecting Los Angeles as the site of their Championship races, Formula E Holdings brings international attention to our city’s electric vehicle infrastructure programs.”
Alejandro Agag, CEO of FEH, was just as excited at the prospect, saying: “Los Angeles’ iconic landmarks provide a perfect backdrop to bring to life the excitement of Formula E racing, while at the same time inspiring people to believe in the electric vehicle for their own personal use”.
The LA race is set to take place on streets in downtown LA, although a number of routes are still being considered.
“Los Angeles is the car capital of the world, and it’s fast becoming the EV capital of the world,” added Ron Nichols, GM of the LA Department of Water and Power.
“We are very excited to have the Formula E Championship here and to showcase the city’s achievements in expanding EV charging infrastructure and promoting EV use among our customers.”
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