Formula E: Six sustainability facts about all-electric motorsport

The world's first fully-electric race series - Formula E- got underway this weekend in Beijiing. But just how 'sustainable' has the sport become?

Formula E is focused on Energy, Environment and Entertainment

Formula E is focused on Energy, Environment and Entertainment

A thrilling race was won by Lucas di Grassi after a final-lap crash, but Entertainment is just one third of the sport's core values, known as 'the Three E's'.

Energy and Environment round off the trio, so edie decided to investigate... Here are six ways Formula E is tackling sustainability in racing and beyond:

1) Electric vehicle promotion

- The first race was watched by 40 million people and generated more than a billion social interactions 

- Investor services firm Ernst & Young estimates this new exposure for electric vehicles (EV) would generate an additional 65 million sales over the next 25 years.

- This would lead to 900 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions reduced --the equivalent of Italy's annual emissions over two years.

- It would also save four billion barrels of oil -- the equivalent of Japan's current consumption over 2.5 years.

2) Battery technology will improve efficiency

The famous Williams F1 Team is responsible for the design and supply of the batteries which produce 200kw - the equivalent of 270bhp.

Williams Advanced Engineering managing director Craig Wilson believes Formula E will help improve storage density - having more energy within the same weight - charging times and life span, and this learning will trickle down into regular electric vehicles.

3) Tyre technology will reduce waste

- Michelin will supply its Pilot Sport EV tyre for the 10 teams - a brand which is suited for dry and wet conditions, meaning fewer tyres have to be manufactured and transported.

- To aid with sustainability and cost-savings, the Michelin tyres will also be extremely durable and able to last throughout an entire race event, whereas Formula One drivers can use up to 12 sets of tyres per race weekend.

- Michelin's global Formula E manager, Serge Grisin says that Michelin wishes to use Formula E as a 'laboratory' to enhance the development and efficiency of its tyres.

4) Logical Logistics

- DHL has been charged with transporting the twenty race-cars from city to city, and is committed to the most efficient method possible.

- DHL CEO Ken Allen said: "We may occasionally have to use airfreight, but our dedicated motorsports team can apply their expertise to dismantle the cars and ship multiple cars in each aircraft container instead of just one, making the move more carbon-efficient.

- Teams also go directly to the next host-city without a pit-stop at their home garage - unlike F1 - which will further reduce unnecessary emissions.

5) Low-carbon electricity

Critics claimed that electric vehicles were 'only emission-free at the tailpipe' and that producing electricity also led to carbon emissions.

However, British-based company Aquafuel is to supply Formula E with one of its highly-advanced glycerine generators to charge the cars.

Using a single generator, all 40 cars can be charged from flat to full in 50 minutes, with no C02 emissions.

6) Local charity campaigns

During each race weekend, Formula E will be raising funds and working with local charities.

Ahead of the London race (proposed to be held around Battersea power station), Formula E has teamed up with the Greenpower Education Trust to promote sustainable engineering to young people.

The project will see students from 10 local schools design and build their own electric car, which will race at 2015 Formula E events.

VIDEO: Formula E hits London

Brad Allen


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Waste & resource management | Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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