"The old ways of doing business are over": Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E

Ilario D'Amato
24 June 2015

Alejandro Agag, Formula E, on how competition is driving electric vehicle technology

LONDON: In an exclusive Climate TV interview ahead of Climate Week NYCAlejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, explains why his new, clean tech-powered race Formula E, has become so successful and what its case says about the future of business. "Formula E is much more than a race", he remarks. “We want to change things in our field. We want to change the way people move around in their cars.

The first-ever all-electric FIA Formula E championship ended its first championship with an exciting grand finale in London last June, where 10 teams fought to be crowned champion of the new motorsport.

Formula E can contribute to improve the technology of electric cars; battery developments, energy recovery systems and better electric motors will be designed in Formula E, and then be used in road cars. And this will make electric cars the obvious choice for everyone,” says Alejandro Agag in the video interview.

The London ePrix was the final stop of a 10-month long global tour around 10 cities, where Formula E saw huge support from the public and sponsors alike for its innovative and fast – but incredibly silent – racing cars.

"You know, the old ways of doing business are over," says the CEO in our interview. "Now sustainability is basically the best way to do a good business, because you are doing something good for society but at the same time you are creating something that makes sense financially. And that’s how things will happen.

"The best way to succeed in motorsport business is to do it in a sustainable way. Sponsors are really tired of the old ways, and also they are concerned about the problems that a non-sustainable business creates for their own business. To be aligned with sustainability is the way to do business in the future."

Even the energy that powers the electric cars comes from low carbon biofuel, which makes the championship an ideal member of RE100, The Climate Group’s project to encourage the world’s most influential companies to go 100% renewable.

“The message of these fast-paced, clean cars clearly goes well beyond the race track,” says Emily FarnworthRE100 Campaign DirectorThe Climate Group. “Formula E's innovative approach to motor sport means we are now experiencing what the future can look like if we shift to electric cars powered by renewable energy.

“Many top businesses are committing to a 100% renewable future through RE100, and as we head toward the climate talks in Paris later this year, these forward-thinking companies are demonstrating their clear support for world leaders to agree a long term goal that supports continued action towards a net-zero carbon world.”

In the interview, Alejandro Agag reveals his next project is organizing a race in Paris before the talks: “I think having a positive result in Paris is very important. I think showing electric cars in the center, in the heart of Paris can be a very strong symbol.”

The Formula E CEO also affirms the scale of what the races could inspire stating: “What we want, what Formula E wants, is all cars in the world to be electricAnd this will happen, sooner or later, but it will happen. All cars in the world will be electric.”

Speaking of the motivation behind such a visonary business, he states: "I think business is totally changing, and we are doing nothing extraordinary. We are doing what we are supposed to do, which is to adapt to the times.

"We want a world that is cleaner, that we can live on this planet for many many centuries. For that to happen, the most important thing is that it makes financial sense."

Technology is key to achieve this vision, and the Formula E chief has a clear one: "A world powered by 95% by solar energy, which is I think realistically the best source of energy we can achieve," he says. "If you reduce or eliminate the carbon emissions of the way we produce energy, and you eliminate the carbon emissions of the transportation, you are eliminating basically the two biggest sources of carbon emissions in the atmosphere. And that will only arrive with technology: technology is a tool that can save us, I am optimistic.

"Computers were huge many years ago, and it was a chemistry problem. Once we were able to find the right chemistry for the microprocessors and the chips to become smaller, and smaller, and smaller, they sorted out the problem. Batteries or energy storage is also a chemistry problemSomeone will crack it, and when they do it, you will charge your phone once a year, and your electric car will go for ten thousand miles. When that is there, that’s the world I would like to see."

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