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Brandon Seiler's Blog on Cars

Formula E burns up streets of Los Angeles

Formula E is on a mission to proliferate electric cars and sustainability around the world.  To make the dream come true they’ve set out to create a global all-electric racing circuit designed to occupy the streets of major cities.  The concept appears to be gaining popularity:  This week Los Angeles Mayor Antionio Villaraigosa applauded as a Formula E electric racecar pulled donuts in front of his city’s Department of Water and Power headquarters. 


The tire-smoking display took place to celebrate the announcement of Los Angeles as the latest edition to the Formula E circuit.

“By hosting Formula E Championship races here, we ensure our place as a leader in the charge to generate awareness for electric vehicles and their benefits,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “By selecting Los Angeles as the site of their Championship races, Formula E Holdings brings international attention to our City’s electric vehicle infrastructure programs and increased tourism revenue to our City.”

Formula E selects cities for their races based partly on the government’s efforts to put electric vehicles on their roads.  The race courses are structured around historic city landmarks to spotlight the area's culture with an emphasis on its greener elements.  The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power for example, supports LA's Electric Vehicle Program - hence the celebratory donuts outside its front doors.

“We are very thankful to the Mayor and the authorities for the enthusiastic welcome they have given our Championship and are honoured to have Los Angeles on board to host Formula E and share our passion for promoting sustainable motoring,” said Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings.

In addition to Los Angeles, Formula E races will be hosted in Miami, London and Rome in Europe; Beijing and Putrajaya in Asia; and, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janiero in South America.  Two locations have yet to be announced (feel free write your mayor if you’d like electric donuts delivered to your hometown).

When the electric circuit is finalized race fans can expect Formula E events to be a little different than a conventional motorsports competition.  The cars are potent enough; they’re expected to accelerate from 0-60mph in three seconds and have a top speed of 140mph or more.  Autoweek reports they’ll even be designed to “produce ‘a unique, futuristic sound’ that will measure 80 decibels, somewhat less than a city bus in loudness.”

But, each car will only be able to muster 20-25 minutes of juice on a single charge.  When the battery nears depletion drivers will jump out of their car and run to a second racer.  If no one’s coined the phrase “electric pit stop” yet I’d like to do it here.  

Pitting with the frequency of a dishwasher cycle will probably seem a bit abnormal to some, but Agag believes it’s all part of the Formula E master plan.  

“We will look back (on internal combustion) and it will be like when people used to smoke in restaurants, when people used to smoke on airplanes, that's unthinkable now but it was once acceptable,” he said.  “Someday we will look back at cars throwing their smoke and we will say, 'How could we have done that?' ”

Further demonstrations of the Formula E racecars will be held later this year.  Race dates will be announced for 2014.

 

SOURCES

Formula E

Autoweek


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Brandon Seiler is a bonafide car guy, member of the Northwest Auto Press Association and proud Washingtonian. He covers the latest auto news, technology, and pretty much anything having to do with car culture. You don't have to like cars to read his blogs, you just have to be able to read.

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