Autovolt Magazine

Formula E Drives Through Las Vegas

Visitors to the Las Vegas International CES 2014 have been treated to the first public demonstration of the new FIA Formula E SRT_01E all electric racing car, complete with a high speed display on the streets around the famous city and the ‘Strip’, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Lucas di Grassi, former Formula One driver, was given the honour to drive the car and gave the first glimpse of what the street racers will be like to watch when the inaugural all electric racing series commences in September. Unfortunately, the video edit has had the sounds of the car replaced by techno music.

With the entire schedule now confirmed and each of the ten teams announced plus partnerships with the likes of DHL for deliveries and Aurora for media coverage, Formula E is ready to show the world the capability of an all electric race series. For the initial season only, each team will have the same car – the SRT_01E. The series is aimed at inspiring confidence in electric mobility and heightening their appeal plus bringing together electric motorsport enthusiasts.

Lucas di Grassi driving the Formula E car outside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

The SRT_01E was first unveiled in September 2013 and was designed by SPARK Racing Technology, Renault, Dallara, Williams Advanced Engineering McLaren and Michelin, each of whom contributed to various aspects of the car.

Renault Sport Technologies CEO Patrice Ratti, said:

“Everybody at Renault is very proud that we were able to show the 100% electric Spark-Renault race car in driving conditions for a very tech-savvy crowd in Las Vegas. The work that has been done by all technical partners over the last few months has been fantastic and the car lives up to Renault’s high competition standards. We are very happy about the result so far and our engineers will keep working with Spark, Dallara, McLaren, Williams and Michelin to further improve the Spark-Renault SRT_01E so that all teams can compete with an amazing 100% electric race car when the championship begins.”

The result is an instant torque giving 150+mph all electric race car which will provide exceptional acceleration and introduce new challenges to drivers.

Alejandro Agag, CEO of series promotes Formula E Holdings, said:

“Today is a very special landmark for the FIA Formula E Championship and I’m delighted to be sharing it with Qualcomm and all our partners. Since the FIA launched Formula E just over a year ago, the progress and interest in the series has been overwhelming. When we started we had no cities, no teams, no broadcasters and no car. Now we have all these things so to be able to showcase our new car to everyone involved, and of course the fans, is a very proud moment.

2014 is a very big year for Formula E with the championship starting in September so it’s important to be starting on such a positive note. Today will also be the first of many roadshows we have planned over the coming months as we want as many people as possible to see, and hear, what we believe is the future of motorsport.”

He added:

“It’s also great for us to be debuting the car here in the US as this remains a key area for Formula E given we have two teams, two cities, broadcaster FOX Sports, a new investor with Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck and, of course, the US’s ever expanding electric vehicle market.

We are excited to show off the new fully-electric FIA Formula E Championship car in action on the Las Vegas Strip,” said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, Chairman and CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated. “Qualcomm is proud to be a Founding Technology Partner of the FIA Formula E Championship and a part of a global movement towards sustainable living.”

Tariq Shaukat, Caesars Entertainment’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, said:

“Caesars Palace has been passionate about auto sports since its early days when it hosted the Caesars Palace Grand Prix. We are proud to keep at the leading edge of the auto sports industry and technology innovation by partnering as the exclusive casino sponsor with the first-of-its-kind Formula E racing car. This partnership complements our ongoing global environmental efforts and supports the company’s focus of leveraging technology to enhance the overall guest experience at our many entertainment destinations worldwide.”

The Formula E car will now be put on display at Qualcomm’s stand at the CES Show where they are also showcasing their Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) system, as featured on the record breaking Drayson Lola car and will be fitted to the Formula E safety cars too, but unfortunately not to the racing cars themselves.

Instead, the championships drivers will have to hop out of their cars and into a second vehicle, ready charged, to continue the race. How this will work in practice remains to be seen and there is sure to be a skill learnt in swapping machines just as there is in other sports such as triathlon where competitors must switch between running and cycling as quickly as possible.

It is a shame that wireless charging could not be incorporated into the design of the cars, nor the tracks or a similar solution but since it is the first all electric race series, it should be expected that as time moves on and battery developments progress, the race series will adapt and range performance will no doubt extend.

Source; FIA Formula E