With the ascent of electric vehicles around the globe, it’s only natural that motorsport leads the way. For years, hybrid electric/internal combustion drivetrains have powered racecars in Formula One and the top-tier prototype classes in world endurance sports car racing.
Now a new series has burst onto the scene that vaults electrified racing to its logical next step – 100% electric – in the international Formula E racing series.
The Formula E series schedule spans iconic cities around the globe – Paris, Hong Kong, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Brussels, Monaco, Marrakech, Montreal and, for the first time this July 15 and 16, New York City in Brooklyn. Formula E race fans are treated to exciting racing, up close and highly personal, as the futuristic FE racers flash by, scratching and clawing for position on city streets with little room for error.
Advanced lithium-ion batteries energize the Formula E racecar’s 270-hp electric motor, which rapidly accelerates this lightweight, winged open-wheel car to speeds exceeding 120 mph. If that speed appears kind of tame when compared to traditional racecars, consider where FEs race: wheel-to-wheel on winding, narrow streets.
Fans aren’t the only ones amped up about Formula E. The growing importance of electric drive to the future of road cars has energized many of the world’s leading auto manufacturers to jump into the FE arena with both feet. This includes Audi, Renault, Jaguar, Mercedes and BMW with more on the way. For the 2017 season, there are 10 full-time Formula E racing teams, fielding two entries each.
For the first three Formula E seasons, race drivers are changing over to fully charged replacement cars halfway through each race. Starting 2018, a new generation battery will allow the FE racers to run a full race distance. Also next year, participating manufacturers will be installing electric power drivetrains of their own design and manufacture into their teams’ FE cars.
All of which points to the fact that, in Formula E, one thing that’s equally as fast as the racing is its furious pace of technological advancement.