In the last 24 hours a new initiative has been launched called the EV Cup, which is the world’s first electric vehicle championship. It will take place this year and is the start of something we are all going to have to get used to.
I’m interested in this because I’m always interested in future trends. In its statutes the FIA now has an “Electric and New Energy Championships Commission” and many of the world’s leading car manufacturers are investing heavily in EVs for the road.
It’s not surprising therefore that a group has got together to see if they can make a business out of EV Racing. They have done a deal with Creative Artists Agency to help them develop the brand, marketing, sponsorship, broadcast and so on. CAA works with sports properties like the New York Yankees and Madison Square Garden as well as managing personalities like Jack Nicklaus. Former Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon is part of the team.
The plan is to have races in the UK, USA, Portugal and Spain. There are plans for a race at Silverstone on 6th August, Snetterton 20th August, Rockingham 10th September, and Brands Hatch on 23rd October. Qualifying and race take place on the same day and the races will last 30 minutes.
According to the EV Cup statement, “The historic seven-race green motorsport series, the EV Cup, will include two principle classes of zero emission electric cars – the City EV cars, where drivers will compete in carbon-free, race-prepared urban THINK cars, and the Sports EV class, which will feature teams racing 185 KPH Westfield iRacers.”
The problems holding back the spread of EVs on the road are cost of batteries and worries over limited range. I really believe that if they can solve the range issue, then electric car sales will rocket.
If the EV Cup can ultimately get the manufacturers and automotive engineering companies to use racing as a test bed for development, as has been one of motorsport’s key roles since it began, it can only help the industry.
I can see this kind of thing increasing in profile and popularity, particularly if they make the racing entertaining. I might take my boys along to the race at Silverstone to have a look. But I think it will be a long time before it replaces the internal combustion engine as a prime mover of racing cars. The noise is a crucial part of racing. EVs make no noise at all and that is culturally very awkward for race fans. What the EV Cup initiative and other like it will do, however, is put the spotlight on F1 to make sure that it is evolving in the right way technologically, with energy regeneration a central part of its specification, as is planned for 2013 and beyond. Whilst not under immediate threat from it, the sport cannot afford to dismiss it either.
“We are creating an opportunity for the EV manufacturers and suppliers to promote their technologies in a new and exciting way. Green motor sport is a reality,” said Sylvain Filippi, the Director of the EV Cup.
“The EV Cup is a ground-breaking concept that creates unique marketing and sponsorship opportunities for major brand advertisers, through social responsibility programmes and other marketing initiatives,” said Peter Kenyon of CAA Sports. “We look forward to utilizing our resources across the globe in sports and entertainment to help build the EV Cup into a premier racing series and valuable advertising platform.”
The EV Cup already has some backers from the motor sport world like Ben Collins (aka The Stig) and Damon Hill.