The Formula E concept is revolutionary, and probably here to stay April 05 2015, 2 Comments
Did you know: One super powerful lithium ion battery in one of these race-cars has the same amount of energy as 10,000 AA batteries.
Electric Race-cars are Here
Race-car drivers can not yet complete a full race on a single charged battery. They have to switch their cars in the middle of the race. This reminds me of polo - where to compete you will bring seven or so horses to the event, and switch-off as each gets too tired to continue. Switching only once is probably not bad for the audience-experience, and cars usually have to make pit stops anyway to change tires.
The electric racing scene is brand new, this is cutting-edge and I believe will represent the majority of sports like NASCAR in the future. The thing about racing, once you boil everything down, is that the fastest are always the best. Electric cars will one day be much faster than gas cars; the potential is far greater. Let’s say that EVs are much faster - who would watch a gasoline car race? Very few probably would. As with vintage car races, there will always be a minority that enjoys things for sentimental value. But for most, for the representative race - they want speed, they want to see the fastest win.
Vintage race-cars are still enjoyed by some.
Our cultural trend is towards cleanliness. That is, clean design, clean air, clean energy and so on. Gasoline is not clean, it is the opposite - a symbol of an industrial revolution with coal power and smoke-filled skylines. The glitz and glamour surrounding races, whether polo, horses, or cars, must be in-line with the cultural trend to be clean. The Formula E might just step up and symbolize the next era, one that fully embraces clean technology.
In a year’s time electric race car manufacturers will design their own cars to perform.
This year is all about research - collecting data, and tweaking the user experience using smaller scale racetracks. Next year they will be limited in tweaking the motor, drivetrain, and some lesser parts to keep R&D costs low and less prohibitive. This limited scope allows for more focused creativity and a larger pool of potential designers. In several years they will probably be allowed to tweak their lithium-ion batteries.
A snapshot from the recent Formula E, Long Beach ePrix
One group - The Mahindra Group is from India and is participating in this year’s Formula E events. They are known for innovation and completely embracing electric vehicles - like using lithium-ion batteries to power a wide range of vehicles like electric motorcycles, and electric tractors. In context, India’s dense cities and crowded streets are more in need of help than L.A.’s. India is also competing directly with China to be the world’s developing super power in the next 10 - 30 years which is the same timeframe that electric vehicles should take to mature. Surely, they are each looking to be the number one providers in this space.
Whether Formula E will really replace Nascar and Formula 1, I do not know. Americans traditionally prefer Nascar. Can we make Nascar electric? Yep. Will electric vehicles ever replace gasoline vehicles? Almost certainly. Will they be faster? Definitely.
* Thank you Mr. Sacks for the correction to the picture.