The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has announced that the first all-electric car racing series will have its opening season in 2014, starting in Rio de Janeiro. The new series will follow a similar structure to Formula 1 racing, and is to be called ‘Formula E’.
The new Formula E racing series is expected to have ten 10 and 20 drivers, and demonstrations of the races will begin as early as next year. Apparently, several high-end racing teams have already expressed interest in the new Formula E series, including the most famous Formula 1 racing team of all: McLaren.
A consortium of investors called Formula E Holdings is leading the new enterprise. Part of the stated goal of the Formula E series is “Creating belief in the Electric Vehicle.” and “Eliminating concerns such as ‘range anxiety’.” A tagline for Formula E is: “It’s time to go racing; and this time, it’s electrifying.”
There will be few noticeable differences between Formula 1 and Formula E, for drivers and spectators alike. For one thing, there will be a LOT less noise from the cars, and with the instant torque of high performance electric cars, acceleration off the line should be nothing short of spectacular. Car racing with low noise is expected to cut down on complaints from people outside racetracks, which has been a constant feature of Formula 1. As people in cities where Formula 1 racing is carried out know full well, those cars are VERY loud.
Important to electric car racing will be the battery charge life of the cars during the races. As the races are slated to last for at least an hour, there will be at least one battery change involved. Details about the cars haven’t yet been revealed, but it seems logical that a method of (very,very) fast battery-swapping will be developed for pitstops. Off the racetrack it’s already happening, with electric car network company Better Place pioneering a battery swapping system for regular electric cars.
Do you think Formula E racing will help to raise the profile and popularity of electric cars, when people see how exciting electric cars can be, and how far they’ve come in terms of performance over the past few years? After all, in terms of look and performance, these cars are going to be a far cry from the average Prius.
Via Gas 2