Formula E revs up for return to London in 2020

The ABB FIA Formula E Championship has announced that it will host a London event in 2020, after a four-year break from running electric mobility events in England.

Formula E will use the event to showcase zero-emission vehicles in the English capital

Formula E will use the event to showcase zero-emission vehicles in the English capital

The race, called the London ePrix, will take place around the city’s Royal Docks and ExCel Centre on 25-26 July, with part of the course set to be indoors.

It will see up to 26 fully electric racing cars navigate a 2.4km course, past Custom House and along the waterside at the Royal Victoria Dock,

The last London ePrix took place in Battersea Park in 2016, one year after the sport’s summer 2015 UK debut at the same venue. However, a new partnership between the ExCel Centre and the ABB FIA Formula E Championship means the event will now be held across the Royal Docks for at least five years.

"Formula E coming back to the UK extends beyond pure racing excitement – it’s also a strong message for London to tackle inner-city air pollution by promoting clean technologies and electric, sustainable mobility,” Formula E’s series founder Alejandro Agag said.

"Every motorsport series would love to host an event in London. This has been our desire for quite some time now and we’re delighted to have found a new home at the ExCeL Centre.”

The ExCel Centre’s chief executive Jeremy Rees added that hosting the event is “closely aligned” with the company’s vision of “creating a more sustainable venue in the heart of one of the best-connected cities in the world”.

The inaugural London event at the ExCel Centre will take place just over a year after the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) comes into force in London on 8 April 2019. The scheme was developed as part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plan for tackling air pollution and carbon emissions in the city, which also includes extended scrappage funds for older vans and cars.

Driving awareness

While electric vehicles (EVs) are already cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel alternatives in five European countries, Formula E serves to boost the commercial and aesthetic appeal of low-carbon transport technologies.

Indeed, professional services firm EY estimates that the Championship will inspire the uptake of more than 77 million EVs worldwide before 2050.

Beyond showcasing electric cars, Formula E is also championing a closed-loop system for EVs and other clean mobility technologies through its lithium-ion battery recycling scheme, while using its off-road rally championship to raise awareness of wider sustainability issues like deforestation and plastic pollution. Called Extreme E and set to launch in 2021, the event will see drivers traverse the areas of the world most at risk from climate change.

Sarah George



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