Battersea Park

London Formula E final accelerating electric vehicle industry

A Formula E car in the FIA Formula E headquarter in London. Photo credit: The Climate Group, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.  
By Frankie Mayo, the Climate Group
The FIA Formula E championship kicks off in London this weekend, the first time the capital is to host a motor race in more than 40 years.
Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric racing series and is working toward becoming the first carbon neutral racing championship.
The inaugural season will reach its historic conclusion in Battersea Park, London on June 27-28, following a series of races in some of the world’s biggest cities including Beijing, Berlin and Moscow.
Formula E is an early member of the RE100 campaign, an initiative of The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, which recruits and promotes companies committed to going 100% renewable energy.
Emily Farnworth, Campaign Director of RE100, The Climate Group says: “The success of Formula E shows real public appetite and excitement for the future of motorsport. The new technologies being showcased – both in terms of electric racing cars and the renewable fuels that power them – are an inspiration.”
“We are delighted to be working with Formula E, through RE100, as the company marks out its path towards becoming 100% powered by renewables across all its races and operations, everywhere in the world.”

Greener automotive sector

Around 23% of total energy-related CO2 emissions came from the transport sector alone in 2010, so events such as the Formula E races are important to help raise people’s awareness of the possibilities of low carbon electric vehicles (EVs) and accelerate the industry.
The slow take up of EVs is reflected in the European Commission’s Renewable energy progress report which says that even though the EU’s 2020 target is to achieve a 10% share of renewable energy, there is a projection of only 5.7% renewable energy in transport in 2014.
But the low carbon impact of the EV industry is promising. According to a projected scenario in the International Energy Agency’s Energy Technology Perspectives 2014 (ETP 2014), the electrification of transport over the next 40 years – together with improved fuel economy, fuel switching and new clean technologies – will substantially reduce transport sector oil use without considerably increasing overall electricity demand.
A report The Climate Group released in 2012 also shows the upward trend of electrical vehicle sales since 2010, including battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Authors also highlight the importance of key technical developments and necessary innovations such as battery range – which Formula E is currently looking to make progress on.
In its second season which starts this September, Formula E will be an ‘open championship’ to showcase and encourage electrical energy innovation. The FIA will set technical specifications to focus engineering teams on improving key areas to develop the EV industry such as batteries.

UK electronic vehicles

Domestic electric vehicle use is continuing to grow in 2015, not only among the public but increasingly also businesses are upgrading their commercial fleets.
The UK in particular has seen record sales of electronic vehicles this year, and although charging stations are sometimes an obstacle to consumer demand, the capital itself hosts over 1,400 vehicle charging points, marking it as a symbolic home for the first-ever Formula E final.
Ahead of the race, Julia Palle, sustainability manager at Formula E, commented: “Our key commitment is to race electric vehicles thanks to renewable energy – glycerine – a fuel free of emissions. Also we are very careful to reduce our footprint as much as possible”.

“Formula E is much more than a race”, remarks Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, in our new video interview. “We want to change things in our field. We want to change the way people move around in their cars.
First published at the Climate Group.
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