Formula E’s new racing car demonstrates rapid advances in EV technology

Reading time: 3 minutes
6 March 2018

As the ABB FIA Formula E Championship reveals its new electric racing car at the Geneva Motor Show today, Sandra Roling, Head of EV100, The Climate Group, looks at the growing momentum in the electric vehicle market – and how it is bringing us closer to a better, healthier and more convenient future for everyone.

Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric international single-seater category in motorsport. Since it’s inception in Beijing in 2014, it has offered continuous inspiration to the automotive world. Even the most hard-nosed petrol heads get excited about the increasing technical capabilities of electric vehicles.

Today, the next chapter to this story is revealed. The FIA Formula E Gen2 car for the 2018/19 season is presented at the famous Geneva Motor Show. While there is currently a mandatory mid-race car swap, this new generation will come with almost double the energy storage, allowing the cars to complete a whole race distance - and at even higher speeds.

While this alone will be major news for any fan looking forward to seeing the new race dynamics play out, it is even more significant for what this development demonstrates about the broader EV market. Formula E has always been more than just an exciting motorsport event. It is also a trailblazer in bringing electric vehicles to the public’s attention – and into the real world.

    Courtesy of ABB FIA Formula E

    The massive leap made in the new racing car is mirrored in the developments we are seeing in the everyday global EV market as well. Off the race track, technological improvements and the rapid decline in battery costs mean most battery cars on the market now offer a range of 200-300 kilometers, which more than covers the needs of an average day-to-day driver. The strong interest in Tesla’s new Semi-truck also shows that the improved capacities now make electric drives an attractive option, even for large vehicles.

    Car manufacturers are increasingly putting their bets on electric. The new Formula E car is being presented in Geneva alongside a range of other global electric debuts from Formula E manufacturers. Jaguar Land Rover was among the group of leading manufacturers who last year announced it would offer electrified versions across all models from 2020. Fellow racers Mahindra just announced an additional US$139 million investment over the next four years to build its EV production capacity and establish a pole position in the emerging market in India.

    The manufacturers are reacting to growing market signals. Over 3 million electric vehicles are now on the road worldwide, one million of which were added last year alone. In front-runner Norway, electric vehicles have now reached a share of 52% of newly registered vehicles. In light of this accelerating shift, all car manufacturers must adapt quickly to address technological disruption and avoid regulatory risk.

      A major driver of electric vehicle demand is the business community. With half of the cars on the road typically registered to companies, businesses play a crucial role in driving the EV transition. And they are increasingly taking a lead. Members of The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative are now making long-term wholesale commitments to EVs, recognizing the major opportunity to address their carbon footprint as well as reduce fuel and maintenance costs, and respond to the expectations of their climate conscious customers and employees.

      Their ambition is also the result of increasingly ambitious government targets. Government at all levels are pushing EVs as a crucial solution towards the achievement of their climate targets, as well to curb dangerous air pollution. For cities like Paris and Mexico, the Formula E races are not just a one-off public event, but an illustration of their mayors’ broader vision for their cities. Both cities have made bold commitments to transition their bus fleets and expel polluting vehicles from their city centres in a bid to offer their citizens a healthier and more liveable environment.

      We look forward to following our EV100 ambassador Formula E through another racing season – not just for the excitement in the stalls, but for the conversations they will raise about how electric vehicles can lead to a better, healthier and more convenient future for everyone, every day.

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