More rows over electric in F1 as Toyota go for record
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Aug 2011   |  10:52 am GMT  |  261 comments

The battles over the greening of F1 continue, with Bernie Ecclestone again casting himself in the role of the roadblock. This time he has said that the concept of F1 cars running on electric only in the pit lane – one of the new regulations for 2014 approved by the World Motor Sport Council – is not right for the sport and he will personally see to it that it doesn’t happen.

“Formula One is absolutely not the right place to have electric engines. It’s like having ballet dancers with sneakers. More comfortable, but it doesn’t work,” F1’s 80 year old CEO told the Express.

“There’s no way that it will be electric in the pit lane. People could be killed because they won’t hear the cars coming.”

At the same time we have Toyota announcing that they are going to have a crack at the lap record of the Nurburgring in an Electric Vehicle. Currently it stands at 9min 1.338secs and Toyota say that they have comfortably beaten that already in informal testing.

The 100% electric car is a two seater with a top speed of 260km/h and a 0-100km/h figure of 3.9 seconds. It comes out of the Toyota Motorsport Headquarters in Cologne, Germany, where the F1 team was based until its withdrawal from the sport at the end of 2009.

This goes back to an interview I did in April with FIA president Jean Todt, where he discussed launching an EV racing series with backing from the EU.

It’s an indication of the interest in promoting EVs among Europe’s politicians, that they want to spread the word about the technology and project a fun image for it. And so they’ve approached the FIA to get them to organise an EV racing series. The idea would be to leverage F1’s powerful media platform globally. Toyota say they want to prove that ‘green thinking motorsport’, as they put it, can get fans excited and generate emotions, as racing has done for a century. And as racing has been the test bed for motoring innovations throughout history, so it is today with this project.

My hunch is that this exercise has nothing to do with Toyota wanting to come back to F1, but instead is a prelude to them offering to supply that FIA series. This will be quite a breakthrough for the profile of EVs. There are other manufacturers interested in supplying this series, I’m learning and seeing Toyota make this move could encourage more. It feels to me like the start of something.

So how to square this circle? Will we end up with a compromise whereby F1 eschews electric gimmickry in return for the FIA’s EV series getting to leverage F1’s global platform and bask in the media glow?

At the heart of this is the battle between Eccestone and Todt which has escalated since the Frenchman replaced Max Mosley as FIA president. He was Ecclestone and Mosley’s favoured candidate, but he’s had his own agenda in office and it’s led to some serious friction.

Todt is determined to use his time at the FIA not only to modernise F1 and move it in a greener direction, but also to get more media value for FIA projects from F1’s global platform. His recent use of prominent banners around the F1 paddock advertising the FIA’s “Make Roads Safe” campaign is a case in point. All the F1 cars carry the message now too.

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If F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport, electric cars should be embrased and developed.

In the UK every Premiership football club needs to help to promote at least 6 other sports to benefit the community.

The same principle could be used in F1 where manufacturer will be helping developing electric cars, hydrogen engines and most of motorsport - motorcars related products.

Williams is already doing some of this and Mc Laren is not far behind.

The whole industry will benefit creating new jobs and the consumer will have more choice when will go to a forecourt to purchase a car


Can I just say thanks to everyone who has contribute to this debate; the quality of the posts and the information contained in them is really fantastic. I'm very proud that JA on F1 can debate subjects like this on such a good level. Thank you


Agreed James. Some of the contributions have been of a high standard. Pity about the spelling though, predictive text is not the problem. In my (Engineer's) eyes, the credibility of the point is diminished by the slapdash grammar and spelling.


Actually, research conductd by Oxford University has concluded that incorrect spelling is not a barrier to getting a message understood. It may have an impact on the reader's willingness to accept the message, based on a prejudice requiring to see correct spelling and grammar but, if you get yourself over the fact that not everyone may have English as a first language, have been educated in the old-fashioned three Rs (which is a spelling mistake in itself), or have the time and will to proof-read a post on a forum, then the messages can quite easily be understood in most cases. Try redng ths sntanc and c if u cn undrstnd wht I ws tryng to rite.


It all seems silly - green for the sake of being green. The chemicals and processes used in the making of these new generation batteries are among the most toxic known to humanity. Electric powered cars don't cause less pollution, they just move it to less politically sensitive areas.


Why is it that some feel FOTA owes the car manufacturers & the world free promotion & development of alternative technologies,they owe them nothing.

Also lets not forget that the body attempting to introduce this nonsense has no monetary stake in the teams,in fact they owe their very existence to FOTA & its equivalent in other motorsporting bodies.

"Tail wagging the dog anyone,again"!

Lets not forget that FOTA has through no fault of its own had to repair the damaged image of our sport due to the governing bodies many uninspiring tinkering's.

"Electric pitstops,what a joke".


You’re hiding from the facts, man. Even with the high prices of petrol these days, electric cars are dying on the vine. Nobody wants them, and the choice is there. GM’s “revolutionary” Volt and Nissan’s Leaf are selling abysmally. Electric car makers are losing their government grants and some have recently filed for bankruptcy (Think is the latest victim). The Volt is a loss leader and GM must shift resources accordingly. Jobs are not being won in this sector—they’re being lost.

I don’t know why people persist in thinking that the electric car is any sort of pattern for success in F1. I’m no fan of Bernie, but the man is an experienced marketeer. He knows people don’t want to watch electric race cars at the pinnacle of motor sport and he’s right. Electric cars will be no more successful in F1 than on the street.


I agree. I don't understand the fascination with electric at the moment. The power grid (in North America at least) can barely withstand the summer heat without failing. The infrastructure for electric cannot bear the additional strain of millions of cars being re-charged. Help me understand how burning more coal is in any way "green"? There is no political will to move toward nuclear given the disasters that have occurred over the years. I think this is a silly dead-end and I see no reason F1 should follow


The argument from the unbiased EV “experts” goes that electric cars would charge at night during off-peak hours and so wouldn’t strain the grid. I think this is a load of baloney. Though probably true to an extent, batteries will be charged during the day in a host of scenarios, all thanks to the short range of EVs. But with EVs being <1% of the market today and projected to be only 2-5% by 2020 (by the same optimistic experts), I don’t think we’ll need to worry about it any time soon.


Good point - the power grid in Australia is the same. It is maxed out and could not cope with volumes of electric cars being added to peak demand. So there needs to be increased electricity infrastructure to make it viable (such as, maybe, geothermal) with more efficient and quicker charging of vehicles. Perhaps petrol stations become battery swap stations instead and the battery companies run a hire and swap service and can charge the batteries off the vehicles. Still, the point is that electric vehicles are not necessarily greener than petrol and would certainly take away from the spectacle of F1. The innovation and development work would be even more buried in things people can't see (or hear) - being the batteries and electric motors.


That is because gasoline is still dirt cheap when you adjust the current prices to inflation.The oil production has been dropping steadily and with emerging economies growing richer by 10-12%/year, the consumption is increasing rapidly. You have incidents like BP oil spill because they are having to drill farther and deeper than ever before.

GM/Nissan/Toyota etc did not make investments on electric vehicles thinking it'll outright be a winner, but they invest on them to learn from them and reap dividends in future. All these words about "F1 is a pinnacle of motorsports yada yada yada" defies the fact it is a sport where manufacturers come in to market,profit and build technologies that could someday be used in road cars. From DFVs to Renault turbo engines in 80s to Honda's VTEC all eventually ended up in regular cars in some shape or form. F1 that refuses to change with time will seize to exist.I'm pretty sure in early 20th century,many people would have thought horse-racing being more romantic and challenging than "artificial" mechanical cars. Bring on the electric F1 and lets show the world that it is truly the "pinnacle" of 4-wheeled motor-racing.


It's not only that gasoline is cheap. The energy stored is superior to other forms.

I really wish F1 engineers would work on air car technology. They know how to reduce weight of vehicle, and understand composite technology and where mass consumption efficiency can be realized. They know how to make it light but safe and strong. Air car can be refilled same as gasoline, and exhaust is actually cleaner air due to filtration required. With most cars on the road having one or two passengers and being generally light, it makes sense.



Petrol is only going to get more expensive. They're not making it anymore.


Hundreds of years until oil runs out??

Twenty years ago my undergraduate course geology course was saying peak oil (peak production) would be round about now. Effectively we are about half way through known oil reserves (and there have been no huge discoveries in 50 years)

What oil is found requires more energy to get out - we have found the easy fields.

The huge spikes in oil price are also not leading to huge amounts of exploration because I suspect the oil companies do not think they will find a lot

Could go on and on - try reading The Oil Drum for a detailed view of fossil fuel production on the net

Hundred of years to coal runs out would be about right!!


Those of us who were around in the ‘70s remember the same empty warnings from back then. The cost of oil is *not* going up because we’re running out. It will be hundreds of years before petroleum reserves dry up and the oil companies and governments know it.

Regardless of the historically high price of oil today, it’s still much cheaper to operate a gas car than an EV when purchase point, depreciation and operation cost (including battery replacement) are considered. Plus EVs are slow (Tesla excluded) and heavy with very short range. That’s why the market doesn’t want EVs. They account for <1% of the market today and the experts claim they’ll hold only 2-5% of the market by 2020. Truly the wave (read “ripple”) of the future.

Make no mistake. These principles WILL carry over into F1 (slow, heavy, quiet, low range, enormous cost). Nearly all of the people posting here in favor of electric F1 cars have never owned an EV and have no idea what engineering and other realities lie behind the electric concept in F1. An electric F1 race would be a yawn—but at least a short and quiet one. They’d be a flop and Bernie knows it.


I want to watch electric cars race. I want to buy an electric car. The reason(s) more people don't own them: $ & range.

Both will eventually be solved.


Perhaps the answer is to have a dual engine formula like diesel and petrol in LeMans prototypes in this case petrol and electric. Have someone build an F1 electric that starts emberasing the petrol cars and the switch will happen. But that will never happen.


as soon as we have a battery that stores half as much enery as petrol, say goodbye to petrol!


Electric drive is the pinnacle of motor tech, one moving part, all torque from 0rpm, rapidly variable torque control,power density that will put F1 engines to shame. There are motors being built now with 10KW/Kg of power density. Let me put that into perspective for you. One 20Kg motor at each wheel of an electric race car will give you 800KW at the wheels! Now a formula 1 car would not even dream of that number. But wait, one set of motors for the whole season because electric motors don't have to run hot because they are so efficient. Now with no gear box too, reliability goes up and running costs come down.

Now batteries. What you need is a pack that can go 10 to 15 laps. now a 150KWh pack would do nicely. There is battery tech coming soon with 1kg/kWh, that means a 150kg pack or 2x 75kg pack will do. Swap the packs 4 to 5 times during the race.

So in conclusion, a drive line with pack would be 250kg. If another formula embraces Electric drive to it's full potential, that number will drop a lot. F1 will look archaic in comparison. Battery tech is the limmiting factor but not for long. Electric drive simply mean pit stops for pack swaps.

Forget about green, on sheer performance numbers alone F1 does not stand a chance against what is coming if F1 does not embrace electric first.


I agree that electric is more power, efficiency, reliability, more and better everything. For that reason F1 petrol and EV formula should be kept separate and never be even compared together. Let people choose what they want to watch.

Some petrol heads will follow F1 and petrol powered motorsport till the last drop of fuel available, even when the electric goes mainstream, which it inevitably will.


would you put in speakers to give engine noise? I know it's a cliche but i find the thought of the start of a GP being silent very odd. And F1 isn't really in competition with any other series outside North America is it? It's not like a lower FIA single seater Formula would ever steal any F1 limelight so it's just be touring cars and Le Mans.


"But that will never happen" is a very dangerous absolute to be uttering regarding technology and especially technology in F1.


Mercedes also pushes back on improved fuel economy requirements and do all they can to push big v8 engines. Is there any other manufacturer who still has a v12 in the showoom? MB does.



Mercedes (Daimler) is a share holder in Tesla, and I believe they have a technical partnership with Renault to develop a small electric car. They also have links with BYD (the largest lithium battery maker in the world, and major Chinese car manufacturer) to produce a Chinese electric car. Also check out their electric SLS:

Your probably right about Ferrari though, although they have started to put KERS in some of their cars so it's not impossible that that could evolve into Ferrari's becoming hybrids at some stage as batteries improve.


I just don't think Ferrari and Mercedes would agree to an F1 Formula which would leave a window open to the possibility of some electric engine maker emberasing the heck out of them.


Then F1 should seek to sponsor and support the development of Hydrogen or other such analogus technologies not electricity which is a passing fad and STILL needs power stations to charge the darn batteries!


Hey all you hydrogen haters take a look here:

"An enzyme from a microbe has shown how to make hydrogen more quickly and more cheaply."

I tell you hydrogen is the future. Power from water and sunlight, my friends!


Sounds like sunshine and roses, doesn’t it? Did you trust the BBC to tell you the WHOLE story?

This catalyst technology (called “synthetic nickel electrocatalyst”) has a *major* setback right now – namely tremendous electrical energy inefficiency, which is obviously the last thing you want when producing a fuel. Throwing an extra conversion process into the energy production chain always leads to inefficiency, which is clearly the case with this new catalyst. To say it in non-scientific terms, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Until they solve this problem, there’s nothing of practical value here.

And since neither you nor I know much more about this process than “synthetic nickel electrocatalyst,” let’s spare the speculation about how quickly they’ll have this wrinkle ironed out.

Maybe by the time it’s solved they will have also worked out all the other kinks with hydrogen fuel cells: the safe and efficient storage, transportation and transfer of hydrogen, plus its relatively low (compared to hydrocarbons) energy output resulting in relatively poor (compared to hydrocarbon-fueled vehicles) performance. Not to mention footing the bill for all-new infrastructure and writing all the legislation to control it.

Just another bright, sunshiny day in EV-ville.


But see, Wayne, that’s the whole hoax of electric cars. There is *no such thing* as a true EV.

There is no mass of free electricity floating out there somewhere waiting to be harvested. All electricity used on this planet is generated from some other energy source (chemical, kinetic, nuke) and converted. Today (and in the foreseeable future), electric energy in quantity will be generated from fossil fuels or nukes. Solar is too weak. Kinetic isn’t sufficiently abundant. Cracking hydrogen also requires alternate energy in commercial quantities (see my post below).

***An electric car is really just an inefficient, heavy and slow oil/coal/nuke car*** no matter how you slice it. And the storage of electricity will probably never be efficient, light and inexpensive. Plus the added infrastructure and government regulation will cost trillions. You get the point. And nothing on the drawing board or in the theory books today looks remotely promising from every angle. NOTHING.

Which is why EVs are a flop in the current marketplace, will be in the foreseeable future (2-5% of the market by 2020???), and why EVs will *never* be a model for success in F1.


again, by 'electricity' I mean the current idea of half a tonne of expensive batteries


Pat Labrosse, no matter how good the batteries are you still have to charge them with something.......... Hydrogen, fully developed in the future, is literally power from water and sunlight and does not necessarily demand massive input of power resources to achive as some people state.

Richard Jackson

No I fully agree with you, lead acid batteries are simply NOT green.

Hydrogen might take twice the energy but so what? Teams need to power themselves with energy they make themselves. Go and put up some wind turbines and use that to run the hydrogen generation plant....


And by "hydrogen" you mean the wasteful practice of having to put in twice the energy you actually store? IMHO hydrogen is a dead end. Better batteries, possibly virus-based batteries, may be a better path.


And where do you think does hydrogen comes from? To 'make' it using electrolysis, you still need power stations to provide the electricity. In a practical sense, hydrogen is not an energy source; it's just another way of storing energy -- much like batteries are.



Like I said before, it sounds really easy. So why don’t we all have hydrogen crackers in the backyard? Because we need to capture enough energy to power a 3,000 lb. car with room for 5 people and their luggage at 100kph for 550km. And we need to do this with millions of cars. So far no manufacturing company has figured out how to do this.

The balloon trick sounds cool, though.


Michael and Marksu: My friend built an electrolysis machine in his basement when he was 17. It's not rocket-science... run electricity through water, and suddenly you have oxygen and hydrogen! (he'd pump it into a balloon, with a wick, and then let it off in the air - quite a bang!)

Fact is, it's not a "technology in it's infancy"... it's well-proven and easy to make. Making it on a scale to pump hydrogen into a car would definitely be easily possible by just about any manufacturing company.


Tom, you're referring to the same technology - electrolysis. That solar panel generates electricity, which then dissociates the hydrogen and the oxygen.

Aside from that, that same solar panel can just be used to charge an electric car, which is also something that can be done at home.


Hydrogen is just another way to store energy, yes. At the same time it is so much better a solution than batteries, simply because refueling the tank doesn't take ages as with charging batteries.

Yes, you can charge batt packs quickly, but this practice destroys battery cells just as quickly, so its no good.

Someone suggested swapping pre charged batt packs at pit stops, which sounds quite sensible, however must be rather expensive to equip a team with five or six packs.

Definitely, some solution to energy storage problem has to be found. I can see some mad inventor coming up with some brilliant idea and becoming the wealthiest man in the world.


You can crack hydrogen out of water with a solar panel. Not quite that easy the process is in it's infancy.

The amount of energy required to split water into hydrogen and oxygen is fixed by the laws of physics. The water in the system is not an energy SOURCE; it is energy STORAGE, like a battery. Excess solar energy is used to split hydrogen and oxygen; they are recombined in a fuel cell to make electricity when the sun is down.

The "run your car on water" scams all say that you can use water as the energy SOURCE. But it takes as much energy to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen as you get when you put them back together. You can't get energy for free.

Info comes from Tacit at CNET


Sounds really easy Tom. So why don’t we all have hydrogen crackers in the backyard?

(1) The production level would be insignificant to hardly noticeable with solar energy. Done on a commercial scale, hydrogen cracking requires a powerful alternate energy source (typically fossil or nuke). So now we’re burning oil/coal to crack H2O to get hydrogen to replace oil? Doesn’t make sense on any level—energy efficiency, pollution, cost.

(2) The transfer of compressed hydrogen has “don’t try this at home” written all over it. Nor does the government trust you to pump your own hydrogen at the local station. So how do you realistically, safely and cost-effectively refuel millions of hydrogen burners every day? Nobody yet knows.

Having worked for many years in Detroit and being familiar with the engineering challenges, I don’t see this becoming a reality in my lifetime—and I’ve got a long way to go.


You can crack hydrogen out of water with a solar panel. Hardly ever wears out, and you can do it home.

michael grievson

If they want to make F1 greener simply

1 - reduce the amount of tyres used. The BBC coverage showed 50,000 tyres a year used and those not used on a race weekend are recycled. What a waste

2 - Reduce the size of the motorhomes they use. Less trucks needed

3 - have the races in order so there is less travel from continent to continent.


By far the largest amount of emissions is from the 300,000 people who travel to the races. What you do with the engine formula is just tinkering...


You are missing the point. F1 is a leader in developing technology so their role is not trying to make itself greener as much as making green technology better and more acceptable to the public. The trickle-down effect is the important goal here. For example, before KERS was introduced in F1, how many people would inquire if a car they are thinking of buying has KERS or not? Same goes for anti-lock braking, traction control etc.



Manufacturer's will develop as they see fit for road cars with or with out F1.

It is a sport and technology is diluting its very soul that makes people what to watch and attend races.

I dread to say it but The Dwarf is right. If you have ever been to an F1 race you will know what I mean. Electric only in the pits, an absolute joke, this green thing is really starting to annoy me. Its a SPORT, you know ENTERTANMENT.


Wrote Andy H: "Its a SPORT, you know ENTERTANMENT."

To YOU it is entertainment. To FOM, FOTA, FIA and all the sponsors, it is a BUSINESS. As such, they are not greening things up solely from the goodness in their hearts, they are also doing it to stay relevant to a public that is growing more concerned by the day about the environment and the price of fuel. If they don't, they will eventually go out of business and then YOU are out of 40 hours+ of entertainment per year.

"It is a sport and technology is diluting its very soul that makes people what to watch and attend races."

Seeing as how EVERYTHING in F1 save the driver is a piece of technology this statement is somewhat nonsensical. You think technology is ruining sport? Well you're going to have a hard time finding one that HASN'T been affected by technology? Highland Games perhaps?


Race on Sunday, sale on Monday has been a mantra for years. Racing is advertising to the teams who have road cars for sale.


4 - do not fly tonnes of freight out to dull, empty desert tracks simply because these countries can pay Bernie and CVC the most cold hard cash.


Ironically that cash comes form fossil fuels...

6) Get rid of HRT.

7) Get rid of the KERS unit. Also cuts down on expenses that way

8) Cut the boring races

9) Stop building more tracks


5 - repeat 4.


Stop racing and steal away quietly in the night.

No racing = green.


This weeks top gear told me all i need to know about electric engines!

Bernie is right on this one, F1 needs noise, its all part of the drama and spectacle. He is also right about the danger due to lack of noise in the pits, i have nearly been run over a couple of times by the hybrid on my street. I must take my guide dog out with me next time!


Before you use Top Gear as a basis for your knowledge of electric vehicles, perhaps you should read this...

Apparently the Top Gear production team ran the cars down to 40% charge before starting filming the journey to Cleethorpes.


Woah some people have a humour shortage here. I guess no-one got the guide dog reference.

As others have mentioned here Hydrogen fuel cells are the way forward. Batteries are expensive and impractical. Also has anyone ever considered the lithium resources across the world? We could find ourselves in the same situation as we will be with the oil shortage in the future!

As for EV in F1 no thanks. Until I see an EV series I will remain sceptical, hopefully that will change my mind, or not.


ev series?? Naw, i just want to see an EV F1 waste the petrol motorcars for the shock value. & watch the oil companies cringe. LOL!!!!!


hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity that goes to an electric motor. No more noise occurs. Because fuel cells are good at constant power and not in responding to peaks and troughs of power demand, I believe they are often linked to a battery to buffer their power and the power coming back from regenerative braking. ....So basically they are the same thing as electric cars, but more expensive until they figure out a way to stop using platinum as a catalyst.

Check out this page from Honda about their FCX Clarity car (the most famous hydrogen fuel cell car).

In the diagram of the car take a look at the battery and compare it's size relative to the size of the fuel cell (the white box in the middle).

I think diesel or ethanol fuel cells are more exciting myself, because if they could get them to work well they would already be able to utilise a fuelling infrastructure which does not exist with hydrogen.

Hydrogen comes from electrolysis (using electricity more inefficiently than in batteries) or from stripping it from natural gas (not especially environmentally friendly). Once made it has to be pressurised, stored and transported using diesel fuelled tankers. You can use solar or wind to make electricity and then to create hydrogen, but if you do that (because energy conversion causes losses) you lose more energy than if you had just stuck the electricity in a battery.

Batteries of course are imperfect and I'm not saying they are currently brilliant. There are a lot of developments on the horizon though and the price should go down next year or maybe after that because there is due to be an oversupply soon. a lot of people sunk in money to make factories betting on an EV revolution.


Fuel cells will be viable for cars only when one of two things happen:

1) They find a new material for electrodes that are not pure platinum.


2) Platinum drastically drops in price.

Until then, you'll still be faced with one-million-dollar Honda Civics.


To be fair, it told you all you need to know about the current generation of batteries for electric cars.

The batteries are the limiting factor in terms of performance, weight, range and recharge time for EV's.

Get the batteries right and you can build an electric car to rival anything out there.


No it didn't, it told you a very skewed one sided view of electric engines.

Try walking on the side of the road, and then looking both ways when you cross and I think you'll find you manage to avoid the deadly silent assasins that are electric cars.


I'm sorry you experienced some danger with the hybrids. But the noise in the pitlane can be sorted out. Renault is already working hard on developing artificial sounds for the EV's to help protect pedestrians. Those sounds could be transferred in the pitlane.


The sounds in the pitlane will be pre-recorded V-10's from a few years ago.


No, sorry, John. Its *my idea and its gonna be V10! ;p


Perhaps you will be able to purchase as option F1 sounds for your new road EV!

If they go EV we can all drive an F1 car with this sound option. 🙂


V12 please.....


Ahem...I was taught to look both ways before I crossed the street. that way, I dont get hit by a bike... or a brilliant idea.

PLUS, have you ever heard the wind noise from a 120 mph electric car??????????? It is actually something to behold.. You can hear the air vorticies rubbing each other AFTER the car passes. Dont hate. You cant possibly know how dramatic something is that you dont know anything about.

Eletric drills arent any good either. Why, i have to charge the battery every time it dies... oh yeah, I just drop in a new one and i'm ready to go. And cordless phones suck too... With your line of thinking you'd still be in the kitchen cooking dinner tethered to the "kitchen phone".

Racing causes performance to inrease. everyone wants to win, and the 426 hemi would never have existed if someone wasnt trying to go bigger and faster. 10 years ago battery powered drills DID suck. And cordless phones USED TO SUCK. comepetition is what the EV industry NEEDS. DUH.


A full electric F1 car with quick change batteries could pit every lap for fresh batteries and STILL beat the gas powered cars. I thought F1 was the pursuit of excellence and being the fastst. Period.

You want drama? Watch the EF1 beat the gas F1!!!! Jaws will drop and sales rise.

Oh, and put a loud speaker in the car so you can hear something coming (for the dingleberries).


Wow, what logic have you based this rant on? Electricity IS NOT currently faster than petrol or more practical. And the following is not true either: 'F1 was the pursuit of excellence and being the fastst. Period.' as safety, road relevance and, increasingly, environmentalism play a large part (hence this conversation). If it was just about going fast they'd strap a rocket to the back and hold on for dear life.


wait rocket cars??? you want noise you GOT IT!!! I guess youre right. we sould keep burning gasoline for ever. good point. Steven Hawking says there is no god...and hydrogen IS the most abundant element.

Now where is that sarcasm font again?


Sorry but I watched the Electric TT Bike Race this year. The speed was pretty good (for electric bikes) but the lack of sound just made it so undramatic.


This noise argument is a red herring. Never heard of a warning siren? F1 cars running on electricity with their internal combustion engines off could make any exotic sound you want them to. And if safety is really your -- and Bernie's -- issue, then electric running in the pits would also prevent the sort of problem Heidfeld suffered last weekend.


Suggestions for the sound this siren would have please.


E93A Ford Popular, c1952


Why not give the cars ice cream van chimes, give everyone a good laugh at the first race. Or maybe some sort of music, change it at each race, the helicopters swooping in to attack at one race, the theme tune to the clangers at the next.


Couldn't agree more (about this being a 'red herring').

The (electric) power system to be used in the pit lane will be, essentially, pure KERS power. KERS delivers its power through the drive train - ergo, when the KERS system is being used in solo mode - powering the rear wheels via the gearbox - the engine will STILL be rotating, there just won't be any fuel being burnt. Consequently, the cars will (fart) expel compressed air from their exhausts - loudly.


James, you coment couldn't be a more perfect anaology in a way.

"ERS, not KERS - it's a new name for a slightly evolved system"

You could say something similiar for Formula 1's green push.... a few consmetic changes for what is really only a slightly changed system


Thanks for that James - I didn't know. (Perhaps, given the content of your original post, Bernie is reading it as ERRS?)


ERS, not KERS - it's a new name for a slightly evolved system


IN fact, there is already a siren in the pit lane when a car comes in. You can hear it on the feed sometimes.


I completely agree. I think if an F1 car were powered exclusively by electric motors, you hear the sound of air disruption by the aerodynamic devices on the cars at high speeds. In fact I believe they would still be quite noisy & for us tech minded fans you quite likely could HEAR differences in the cars aero set-ups!

How cool would that be?

I will be watching Formula e in 2013!


That's not to mention the sound of the tires pushed to their limits on every corner which no doubt makes a heck of a lot of noise which is of course until now has been drowned out by the engines.

There's a reason they add the sound of squealing rubber to car chases in movies: it sounds COOL!


Prevent the type of problem Heidfeld had? More likely cause more problems, as the engine is sitting in the back of the car with no coolant flowing through it and overheating. Probably the teams will have to include some sort of electric water pump to keep water flowing through the radiators; there might also be problems restarting a hot engine.


You just answered your own question... and a hot engine won't have a problem restarting when the car is moving 100 km/h. Easy to bump-start from that speed!


But it's rather fake. More fake then fake exhaust that most super cars feature today unfortunately


Whilst some of what Top gear said is true don't forget it is an entertainment show and if you take anything top gear says as "gospel" you are short changing yourself.

Whilst some of what they say is true lots was wildly misleading!

For more info read


Well since you heard it on Topgear it must be true... Well apart from the fact that they have time and time again shown bias against electric vehicles.

I do not believe that an electric running F1 car will be at all quiet. Think how noisy the underground is for example.

Bernie will lose this one.

Oh and try looking before crossing the street.


Mark, the underground a tunnel which has a lot to do with magnifying the noise ;)The electric engines of the trains themselves are very quiet indeed.


The noise in the underground is due to predominatly one big thing... it's underground.

Noise echos and reverbs. If you yell out in a field with daisies and buttercups surrounding you you wont seem as loud as if you yelled just exactly the same way in a closed cupboard or closet.

So unless we move the electric cars into a tunnel or somewhere with reverb then I don't that will happen.

Plus the noise isn't the building of revs, it's air noise, it's brakes and metal against metal of the wheels.


Electric cars are not the future, the range is too small and the charge cycles too long. Until they reverse that they will never take off.

Sadly battery technology is never going to reach the sort of capacity we need for motoring.

I see Hydrogen fuel cells as the future, in 20 years we'll all be laughing at the concept of EVs!

To bring it back to F1, Bernie is actually right for once, electric cars in the pit lane will be far too dangerous. Someone will get hurt!


Change a few words in your statement and it sounds like something that might have been said 100 years ago before petrol based cars took off: "PETROL cars are not the future, the range is too small and the REFILLING takes too long. Until they reverse that they will never take off.

Sadly PETROL PRODUCTION is never going to reach the sort of capacity we need for motoring."


Utter garbage! What had a greater range and took less time to refill before the internal combustion engine?

Steam engines?

Horse & cart?

The "green" credentials of EVs are a fallacy. I'm not against alternative energy, it has its uses. Cars with mini nuclear reactors? That would certainly give us the range....

Fact is, every battery powered car in production today simpy doesn't have the range. Which isn't a problem if you can fill up easily, but they take 12 hours to charge!


You don't think that horse owners would not have said such things about cars 100 years ago? If so I think it's time you checked up on your history books. Or is history "utter garbage"?


“Electric cars are not the future”

Absolutely true. We’ve been told that EVs are the future since the ‘70s when we were protecting the earth from another ice age. Now that’s over, and we’re protecting the earth from global warming and we’re still being told that EV’s are the wave of the future. Meanwhile the EV’s of the present are confined to dealer lots largely unsold.


The simple fact is that oil is finite and we need to find an alternative at some point.

There is an old saying to the effect that war is the best driver of new technology but I'd suggest that sport is a close second. It may not seem massively relevant now but it will get people thinking and that is the important thing.

Don't forget also that oil doesn't just produce petrol, we get an awful lot of things from it and if we fritter it all for getting around the place then we'll be stuck in more ways than one.

The options are to either ignore it and leave the future generations to deal with the problem or to start looking at alternatives - whcih will be inferior and more expensive at first - and be able to ration the supply for a lot longer.

As for Bernie - I'm sorry, but he is becoming more and more irrelevant I feel. Maybe the bump he got on the head earlier in the year when he was mugged is having an effect - he certainly seems to be talking less sense than usual these days...


They are certainly a significant part of the future. Check out


Another article pertaining to the discussion:

Fair use excerpt:

“According to a survey conducted by professional services firm Deloitte titled ‘Unplugged: Electric vehicle realities versus consumer expectations,’ interest in EVs is high, but the current crop of vehicles are too expensive and can’t travel far enough for the majority of respondents.”

No surprises here. The article also states:

“Range is of utmost importance in the United States, where 63 percent of respondents expect an EV to be able to travel 300 miles or more per charge. This is in spite of the fact that three-fourths of Americans drive less than 50 miles per day.”

This is biased spin. The vast majority of Americans often use their vehicle for trips longer than 50 miles (often hundreds or even thousands of miles) regardless of the length of their daily commute. This has a lot to do with the enormous chunk of land we live on. As I've said elsewhere, I doubt we can convince people to buy and maintain two cars, an expensive EV for around town and a cheaper gas car for the longer trips they make. Until the cost of the EV comes down, its range goes up and the long charging time is dealt with, the market will continue to respond with an excited tepidity.

Until the laws of physics change, the development of EVs will continue to move at a snail’s pace. My bet is that consumer and taxpayer patience will run out first, with government grants expiring concurrently.

It would likewise be a waste for F1 to throw more money at this exercise.


An article relevant to my point above about the marketplace rejecting EVs. If we can’t get people to use them in California, I don’t think we can get people to use them anywhere. A technology irrelevant to the marketplace has no value in F1.

A quote from the article:

Mr. Hoover said that E.V. charging was “very inefficient and not productive” for the retailer. “The bottom line is that there are a lot of other ways to be green,” he said. “We have five million members in the region, and just a handful of people are using these devices.”


*I understand the following is a rambling diatribe and James is aware of the nuances of alternative energy*

Transportation power is in need of diversity. To deceive yourself that semi-trailer trucks (lorries on that side of the Atlantic) will be powered solely by batteries in the near future is a modern myth*. Vehicles with multiple power sources (liquid fuels, battery, flywheel) are getting closer on price each year. Not even our own bodies store energy in one manner. The industrial era of brute force solutions is over. We're entering an efficiency era slowly.


If you live in Maida Vale (London), drive down Edgware Rd. at 13mph through 17 traffic lights and one busy roundabout to your office off Hyde Park, then an all battery powered city car makes more sense than an S600.

If you live in Houston, TX, drive 500 miles each way to West Texas twice a month as an engineering manager for a new wind farm being built that has no paved roads while the nearest gas station is 80 miles away, then you want a diesel truck with a flywheel.

That's why the logistics and shipping industry have the Tanker -> Barge -> Freight Train -> Semi-trailer -> Delivery Van hierarchy.

Can we please stop using the terms "green energy" and especially "clean energy". There is no such thing, nor will there ever be. I personally enjoy seeing wind farms, solar panels on rooftops (especially commercial facilities so workers can charge their car's batteries while at work... when the sun is out), flywheels in cars, and hybrid systems in F1 cars. CO2 doesn't kill people, heavy metals and toxic compounds do, which are byproducts of solar panel and battery manufacturing as well as oil and gas exploration. Clean means less pollution, not burning coal in a power plant, having to incur power loss via transmission, storage, and then again in heat form when the battery transmits power to your motor when you accelerate. Take this PR from Tesla with a grain of salt since it's from Tesla. But it's more technical than what I'm writing but hits the same topics. The jury is out with respect to the energy-in/energy-out ratio for liquid fueled versus battery powered cars and the included risks of mining/exploration/transmission/storage.

Energy *requires* waste, otherwise we're chasing a perpetual motion machine while throwing out the laws of thermodynamics. Single cell organisms excrete waste, complex organisms excrete waste into our sewage systems, the sun gives us cancer. Candy coating this is a disservice to the public and a reminder of alchemy.

We're moving in the right direction, but bureaucrats and politicians will only slow the process. They make poor scientists and dangerous engineers because they aren't captive to real world costs while their pens signing paper don't carry the same risks as a pressurized nitrogen cylinder exploding in a sidepod.

*Could you imagine loading up a semi-trailer at the Port of Long Beach to drive to east on I10 for 1400 miles carrying 80,000 pounds (36,000 kg) through two mountain ranges? You would need an extra trailer of batteries to even consider such a waste of money.


Whether EVs will be a significant part of the future will be decided by the market--not governments, media sources or manufacturers.

Christopher Mason

Couldn't agree more. I suspect any battery development that even looks like getting somewhere (pun intended) is quickly and quietly (oops there's another one) gobbled up by Big Oil. Electric Cars are a dead duck, as will I be long before petroleum in one form or another ceases to be the main energy source for cars and trucks as we know them, should I live the 40 more years I hope to. This whole greenhouse gas circus is one huge money spinning con, but don't get me started - not before I find a charging point this side of another lifetime anyway.


Before Hydrogen, Bladon Jets (10% owned by TATA) will be the answer. Range extension of electric motors to 500 miles by re-charging batteries using tiny hyper efficient (and v quiet) jet engines. - You saw their engines in the new Super Jag.


Wow, this is a really interesting technical development - thanks for the link. Fits my earlier point that we could have small engines powering big batteries - solves the range, power and (possibly) sporting issues, with a colossal reduction in fuel consumption.

By the way, this link led me to TT Zero - the bike boys already run a competitive race for electric bikes at the TT - almost cracked the 100mph average lap time (37 mile lap).

F1 sometimes follows MotoGP in thinking - maybe another example of biking showing the way for F1.


With fully charged battery and the KERS, the Renault Fluence ZE can range up to 180 km, which is more than enough for the average European. I believe if the infrastructure net for recharging and battery quick switching manages to develop, and also if you carefully plan your motoring, then it will be really OK. Meanwhile, the battery technology can continue to develop and extend the range.


Since when was Croatia a continent ;-).

The point is the average person doesn't buy one car for their daily commute and another for potential long journeys, the infrastructure needs to be similar to petrol (60) seconds to fill up otherwise people won't switch.


I conccur, the infrastructure needs to be similar. But if the fast charge which takes 30 min. is too long for people that for some reason are thin on time, than don't forget the battery switch option which takes just 5 minutes.


180km wouldn't even get you across the length of a small European country like Croatia so it would need a larger range for France, Germany etc. Unless people could afford several cars.


I meant the average European who travels from home to work and back from the suburb to the city, or just in the city inside. But you're surely right, 180 km wouldn't get you even across Macedonia for example, let alone Croatia. But the key is the infrastructure like that of "Better Place" which is developing in Denamrk and Israel. Plus, the charging points planned at the rest areas and at the malls. If that net manages to develop with, then I would not be a problem at all.


So if you want to cross continents regularly don't use an electric car. It really isn't rocket science.

There really is no compulsion for anyone to get one - unless it suits them. And sub 180k days would suit me

(I'm less impressed by the idea that I would be in hock to Renault for a battery pack that I would have to 'rent' at a fixed price every month. I'd rather be responsible for my own as I don't entirely trust manufacturers not to alter the terms and conditions of the lease after I've already paid out for the vehicle!)


I agree, My brother in law brought an electric car last year & after only 3-4 month dumped it.

Because of the range & long recharge time your constantly having to plan everything you do in the thing to make sure you don't run out of juice with no way to recharge.

There were actually a couple times he had to call a tow truck out because the batteries had run out on him because the range it was supposed to do was not the range he actually got.

I think Top Gear this past Sunday also raised another point about electric cars, They won't last as long as regular petrol/diesel cars. The battery life span is only about 5 years & the cost of replacing the batteries once they die completely is almost as much as buying a new small car.

I've nothing against F1 been more green, I just think there doing it the wrong way.

KERS is stupid, It doesn't add anything to the show & the only time you ever hear KERS get mentioned is when the system fails which is ridiculously often through the field.


Electric cars might be the future, but both energy storage and charge rate need at least a 10x improvement before that happens.

Hydrogen though is most definately NOT the future. Far more dangerous and expensive to store and transport than petrol or electricity ever will be, and no practical way to get that sort of amount of hydrogen.

Petrol is easy - there's tons of it sitting around doing nothing underground. Electricity is easy - it's produced via renewable or fossil fuel sorces directly and distribution of it is a low mastered process.

Hydrogen - well, you start with electricity, use it to produce hydrogen at an efficiency loss, then have to store and distribute a highly explosive gas, it ends up back in a car where it is used to produce - electricity - at a further efficiency loss. Hydrogen is the least sane suggestion by far. Inherently more dangerous and less efficient is a bad combination.

The only other long term competitor to electricity is bio/ethanol.


Bio-ethanol? no way! it is so criminally inefficient to produce it should be banned. The only reason it is ever used is to sidetrack the massive road fuel duties imposed on fossil fuels. The problem is that to produce a set amount of energy from bio-ethanol most producers use 95% as much fossil fuel to do so.


One day a lab is going to invent a capacitor battery that will make piston engines a thing of the past. Hopefully it's an F1 lab.




No. Biodiesel and ethanol production takes arable land away from food production. This raises world food prices up, and puts more people worldwide into danger of starvation.

I really hope this biodesel fad goes away. It's not going to harm people in this country, it will hurt vulnerable people in poor countries.


Biofuels are just a way of converting sunlight into an energy source that can be burnt in an conventional internal combustion engine. Consequently, 1) biofuels cannot be made underground because the energy they contain comes from the sun; and, 2) whether plant-based or algae-based they have to be grown on large areas of the planet's surface so that they can collect sufficient sunlight.

Biofuels will always displace food production and are therefore not viable at a large enough scale to make a difference.


I'm sorry Ray, but it's true. There are many stories about Biofuels and rising food prices from reputable internet sources. What's more, there has been a worrying trend of biofuels being grown in those poorer countries as an export to the richer ones. It doesn't take a genious to figure out what will happen next. A farmer gets richer and the people around him will have less food to go around, meaning the poorerst will be in danger of starvation.


No, no,. and no again. Bio/ethanol in no way demands you "take food from the mouths of starving children".

That concept is a response to the bizarre American method of using corn - a completely inappropriate crop - for production. They do this not because it is sensible or logical, for it is neither. They do it because their corn industry is overly powerful.


Only because we're doing it wrong. biodisel should be made in huge vats underground, not in a field. You'll get better density too.


What do you think of the air car?

Sounds like a good option - especially the quick charge and cost of refill. They used to have air locomotives pulling coal!


Thanks. You saved me from having to write essentially the same post.

My personal vote goes to serial hybrid technology using biodiesel to run the IC generator.


More efficient power transmission from power station to point of use is also worth looking at if we're going to save the planet through F1.


Yeah, hybrid makes sense for the scenario where a cheap & high enough capacity/charge rate battery pack isn't available.

Since the generator isn't having to deal with variable load to directly drive the car it can run at peak efficiency charging a small battery, AND you get current-speed refils.

Long term we still need a lightweight high capacity fast-charge battery/supercapacitor though. No point lugging an engine around with every single car on the planet if you don't have to. 🙂


Second that... And what do they use to generate electricity to charge them up?

Fossil fuel ?


or wind turbines.

The Norwegian Island Utsera is no longer connected to the national grid. Their massive wind turbine uses excess capacity to produce hydrogen. In times of no wind they use that to create the electricity they need. At other times they sell hydrogen to the mainland. The whole hydrogen setup sits in a 20' container.

I feel we should stop ruling out electric power and think about the benefits - like a very simple way of introducing 4 wheel drive...

KERS needs to used to the maximum - and allows all sorts of interesting possibilities - perhaps alongside a reduction in pure mechanical braking.


Nice point Steed. Would love to see 700hp output from 80hp input too. We could use this excess energy to make airborne bacon.


Interesting, and whilst I agree with the sentiment, Utsira has a population of only 213 - at that rate you would need 30m wind turbines world wide to solve the energy problem - probably not feasible.

Back to F1 though - at the moment we have a 700hp petrol engine generating 80hp of electric energy. If the development opportunity was opened up, maybe this ratio could be reversed - ultimately we could have smaller petrol engines generating larger amounts of electric energy for longer periods.

For me, the thrill of F1 is in seeing a talented driver breaking lap records to win races. If this can be done in a more environmentally friendly way, then that should surely be a good thing.

I don't know if the pit lane is the best direction, but I would like to see F1 build on the good start being made by KERS.



Hydrogen fuel cell cars are electric, they just use a fuel cell to produce electricity instead of a battery to store it, which also incidentally answers your point about charge cycles.


Agree - EVs don't seem to have a long term future as far as I can determine. Hydrogen fuel cells have the potential to be a HUGE step forward.


This is a very good point. Why is hydrogen not being looked at as an alternative fuel for F1. It would meet Todt's "green" requirements and Bernie's "noise" demands. Is Hydrogen a viable solution? What would be the problems?


BTW I mean Hydrogen internal combustion engines NOT fuel cells


Er, you do know that a fuel cell produces electricity, don't you, and that a fuel cell car is also an electric car?

Personally I don't see the problem with going all electric in the pit lane. The sound isn't an issue -- the cars sound crap in the pitlane on the speed limiter. I can't see people being run over either -- it's not like you can rely on the noise at the moment, you have to look to see if it's safe to cross to/from the prat perch. And finally, we have to accept that electric cars are coming (irrespective of how that electricity is made/stored). It would be great to see F1 spurring innovation that is relavent to road cars once again.


Could not agree more, Electric cars are certainly not the future. They are a passing fad (like the laser disk) that will fill a temporary gap until something more valid and user-friendly comes along such as Hydrogen. So why would F1 want an association with it? I also notice that the batteries in current/new generation electric road cars have a usable life of from 5 to 10 years and cost thousands to replace - definitely not the future. It's hard to believe that consumers get caught up in the hype let alone global business' such as F1.

Furthermore, Todt should remember F1’s reason for being which is to entertain. If by seeking to entertain there are ways to drive environmental initiative, so be it. However, Todt has this back to front and is using F1 to drive environmental initiatives at the cost of entertainment. Todt needs to reprioritise. F1 will survive as long as it entertains its fans – environmental issues are not key to entertainment, they add nothing to the racing or the experience.

F1 is a bit too self important on issues such as this for me. There is nothing wrong with using the sport to market products. Football, tennis etc all do this. But F1 seeks to drive the development of commercial products like the road car and this can impede its primary reason for existing. Football does not change its rules to try to DRIVE the development of new trainer tech and swimming does not change its rules to drive them development of new spandex tech!

I do, however, get the feeling that Bernie would disagree with Todt if he said that water is wet.


"Electric cars are certainly not the future. They are a passing fad (like the laser disk)"

"the laser disk"! 🙂 little round disks being read by lasers went nowhere! Total technological dead end! 😉

lasers shmasers. totally useless devices.

I kind of think that's like saying that electric cars are no good because you don't think NiMH batteries are any good.



Hmm - you make some good points but you seem firmly in the "F1 is only entertainment" camp. I agree but I also recognise the power of well-funded racing to push technology and engineering forward. It concentrates the world's leading thinkers in a small space on a specific task and lets them focus without needing to worry about anything else. It's a uniquely productive environment for human endeavour and whilst entertainment is the lifeblood, I think the development side of F1 should not be underestimated.


You know what I never understood? Why they don't put solar panels on electric cars? They live outside and are parked all day outside in the sunlight.


The latest Toyota Prius has solar cells on roof.


Because solar panels are expensive and produce very little energy, it would have to sit in the sun for 6 weeks to charge a small car.


Couldnt agree with you more


I should have said the current traditional view of what an electric car is............. i.e. plug in and play!


I guess we'll be getting our first taste of electric racing in December at Bercy

You going James?


OK, tell me I'm wrong, but that kart sounds superb. I reckon we'll have to wait a few years yet by if they crack the battery storage problem an electric F1 car could sound something else -- literally!


Yes I think so. Looks really good


Toyota won't get the electric car drag record, though . . . watch this :

"It has set the world record for being the first electric-powered car to go a quarter of a mile in under ten seconds, managing 0-60mph in just 1.6 seconds." (from here:

I too fear for pit-lane safety - that clip is close to silent (the Santa Pod crowd are making more noise!) – no ear defenders – no sound – and the motor is a damned sight more powerful than any F1 electric motor will be!

Actually . . . . rather impressive that a couple of blokes sponsered by a local pub can achieve that kind of performance. McLaren should hire them to perfect KERS and prepare for 2014! 😉 . . . or perhaps Toyota!


Not only was the car quiet but if the announcer had stopped talking, you could have heard a pin drop in the stands. I'll admit that they clapped a little after the squeaky little burnout.

Impressive, no?


Electric only in the pit lane sounds good me! I understand what Bernie is saying, but a warning siren or some other technological solution could be developed, something that F1 is very good at, to warn crews of an approaching car.

I think it's important that F1 creates a balance. I don't think anyone wants to see it lose it's technological cutting edge or the roar of an engine, but at the same time, it is the perfect platform to show how technology can be greener!


Partially electric F1 cars can’t show how electric technology can be greener because “electric=green” is a myth. Consider the following:

(1) EVs use electricity converted from some other energy source, typically gasoline, coal or nuke. An electric power plant somewhere is producing the electricity the car receives from the receptacle in your garage. All you are doing is hiding the process by removing it a couple steps from the car. And don’t forget that most EVs still have dual systems (electric and gas) to help with the ever-present black eye of poor range and performance. So they are still burning some gasoline as a supplement. Partially electric cars in F1 can’t touch this problem.

(2) The transfer of energy from one form to another always involves a loss in efficiency. An electric car adds one more step compared to a gasoline powered car. In a gasoline powered car you are converting chemical energy (burning gas) to mechanical (drivetrain) and then kinetic (forward motion). For an EV, you are converting chemical (burning coal) or nuclear into electrical (battery), then to mechanical (drivetrain) and finally to kinetic (forward motion). The electric car requires four steps rather than three for the gas powered car. The effects of this in the real world are hard to quantify, but the odds are stacked against EVs.

(3) The combined weight of both gasoline and electrical systems (including heavy batteries) used in most hybrids and EVs today further reduces efficiency. KERS in F1 is a perfect example of this. The car gets an extra energy boost for a few seconds each lap, but must haul the extra weight of the whole system around for the entire lap! At a sustained speed this is not a problem since weight contributes very little to drag (slightly higher rolling resistance) compared to aerodynamics. But the EVs of today are mostly in-town vehicles (thanks to their short range and poor highway performance), thus doing a lot of accelerating and stopping. This is where a heavier car must pay the piper. A partially electric F1 car will only demonstrate how to exacerbate this problem.

(4) EV battery technology is hardly green. Just think about the words “lead-acid” and “lithium ion” and tell me if they sound green to you. Then Google the impact of lithium production, reclaiming and recycling on the environment. It’s not pretty.

I don’t see F1 helping to solve any of these problems in the real word. The best way to get a truly green EV is to have it painted that color. I suppose F1 could help promote that.


Hi Michael.

You are right that when you convert energy you lose some in the process. I think your missing though some fundamental facts about petrol, petrol cars and electric motors.

Firstly you need to take into account the fact that petrol doesn't come from nowhere. It's drilled, it's transported, it's refined, it's transported, it's pumped, it's burnt in a car by an engine with only 20-30% efficiency (depending on the type of engine), and then turned into kinetic energy. Before it can get to the wheels to drive the car though it has to go through the gearbox which causes more energy to be lost. You have a very inefficient process, and in that process large amounts of electricity are used to make each litre of petrol. I can't be bothered to look it up now but to make 1 gallon of petrol they use something like 4-7 KWhrs of electricity (look it up if your interested to find a good estimate of what the amount is).

An electric car has an electric motor which is 80-90% efficient. Lets say 80%. Which is far superior to a petrol engine. Also electric motors are better at accelerating cars than petrol engines.

In any argument about CO2 you have to remember that electricity is used in the production of petrol. If you say that an electric car is terrible because the electricity may have come from a coal power station, then it's important to realise that a petrol engine is burning both coal and oil as well as the diesel used to transport it.

Electric cars aren't a panacea, but they do have some advantages. They will be too expensive at first of course, but the prices will come down because that's what always happens with new technology.


🙂 Lets agree to meet back here in 2021 and continue this. It's all about the batteries. We'll see what happens.

In one of my other overly long messages I mentioned LeMans. You should also watch electric bike racing over the next number of years. Watch the lap times of the electric bikes and you can compare their development over time to the petrol ones.


@Nick: Yesterday I was wondering how long it could take before lots of cars were EVs.

Nobody knows. They’ve been around since the mid-1800s and have never taken off. Since the shortcomings with EVs haven’t changed since then, it could be another 200 years

@Nick: You shouldn’t look at the current cars and think that the technology will stand still.

EV technology development isn’t standing still, but it has been remarkably slower than gasoline powered cars because of the seemingly insurmountable storage issue resulting in poor performance and range.

@Nick: There are a few problems with electric cars at the moment.

The very same problems they’ve had since the mid-1800s. This is not merely a “moment.”

@Nick: The average person in the UK drives something like 30ish miles a day.

It’s not convenient to buy a $40,000 EV for the daily commute to work and another $15,000 gas powered car for longer trips. Historically, 99% of consumers have chosen to buy only the latter and ignore the former.

@Nick: The advantage of them is that electricity is cheap.

Electricity is not cheap enough to offset the high initial investment and 5-year battery replacement.

@Nick: You may be right that the early ones won’t do well because they are too expensive.

Since the EV has been around since the 1800s, these aren’t the early ones. They represent 180 years of design “maturity.” They’ve historically been prohibitively expensive.

@Nick: Most new technology...

Another EV myth perpetuated by the media. The EV isn’t *new* technology at all. It has a long history of mediocrity.

@Nick: Best thing to do is to keep an open mind.

An open mind is perhaps not better than being familiar with history and the facts. We are presently repeating history yet again because we didn’t learn the last few rounds.

Check out Very informative.


Hi Michael. 🙂

The first thing I want to say is that I'm not an expert. I'm just an interested amateur. I read some stuff most days about electric cars because they interest me, but I really only have a surface level of knowledge. I would treat this debate type thingy we are having as the type of thing you'd discuss in the pub with some random.....maybe half drunk person. 🙂

That being said I will now respond to your message.

>"...One thing is for sure: they did not assume a fleet of EVs *equivalent* to the current fleet of gas cars in utility, size, performance and cost."

EVs are at an early phase in their adoption. Yesterday I was wondering how long it could take before lots of cars were EVs so I started to read a little about the change from steam trains to diesel trains. The war interrupted the whole thing a bit but basically if I remember rightly it took many years before the diesels were good enough that they could compete with the steam engines and then decades for the transition from diesel to steam to take place. I would expect a slightly faster adoption for Evs because the world moves faster these days.

You shouldn't look at the current cars and think that the technology will stand still. It's kind of silly to bet on the steam train when it's competing with the diesel or bet on the typewriter when it's competing with the computer. At an early point in the development of the new thing it is too expensive and it's hard to imagine what it's useful for.

There are a few problems with electric cars at the moment depending on how you look at it. The ones that stand out the most are limited range and the high cost of the cars. Range and cost are actually linked. The more batteries you have the more range you have, but the more expensive the car. These problems will be solved by technological advancement and mass production. The batteries will be able to store more energy and so you will need less of them which will make them cheaper. More electric cars being sold will mean that the price of manufacture drops greatly because of mass production. Currently the price of the cars includes the cost of building new factories and investing to produce and test a new technology. eventually this will be paid for.

The average person in the UK drives something like 30ish miles a day. I may have the number wrong. It's certainly less than 40 miles. So the problem with the range of the current EVs is that they are no good for people who commute long distances or regularly take long trips. They can be used though by a reasonable percentage of the population although they may have to take the train for the odd long journey.

The advantage of them is that electricity is cheap, you can charge them at home (if you have a drive), they are simpler than normal combustion engines so should break less and they accelerate very well.

[[wow! I'm long winded. why am I writing a dissertation here?? 😉 ]] the cost is part of it being a new technology, the range will increase with time and the number of miles people need to drive is smaller than they think.

>"and EVs would crush our existing power grids without trillions in investment."

EVs won't crush the power grid because there just aren't many at the moment. There adoption will be gradual giving lots of time to adjust and even then it likely won't be a big problem. People will charge off peak. I'm not sure if your aware but power stations have to stay on constantly even when no one is using electricity. basically we throw a lot of the energy we make away because people sleep at night (very inconvenient of them). Also there is the argument that electric vehicles can be used as a buffer in the power grid to smooth out the intermittent nature of renewables.

Despite what you said EVs are more efficient at using energy than petrol cars. It doesn't mean just because that's the case that everyone should be forced to drive them. They shouldn't. They are too expensive and at an early stage of development.

You may be right that the early ones won't do well because they are too expensive. That's probably right. Most new technology is adopted by rich people and then trickles down to us poor normal people as the price goes down. That's always the way it happens. it was like that in recent memory with mobiles and flat screen TVs. It's probably a mistake of some of the car manufacturers to target everyday people. they should probably be making luxury electrics and making a big song and dance about how they are a new luxury unaffordable thing.

>"One could also argue that immediately capping all petrol cars to 1.0L 4cyl engines with 2 gallon gas tanks would improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact while actually *reducing* the purchase point. Do you think the market would bite?"

The government tends to regulate cars with broad standards over things like emissions and miles per gallon. They do things like crash the cars and rank them. I'm all for that stuff. It's the role of government to set a high bar and then the role of car companies to whine about it and then totally blow the standard out the water by coming up with an amazing innovation.

>"this is why the EV is an inappropriate model for F1. Formula 1 is about obtaining maximum performance. EVs as a *whole system* inevitably represent an inescapable loss of performance "

The thing in F1 currently is KERS. It's highly regulated. The cars aren't even allowed to use all the electricity they generate and so it's fairly artificial in many ways. Watch cars that compete in LeMans. That's probably the place to see the technology properly at the moment. Lets see how the coming hybrids do over the next 5 years and then make a judgement.

Best thing to do is to keep an open mind. I'm 33 and during my life time we have had the mobile phone the internet, the flat screen TV. All that stuff at the beginning seemed a bit weird, stupidly expensive, and probably useless. It keeps happening though these weird ideas take off and become huge.


Please keep posts shorter thanks



Thanks for your comment. I quickly and wholeheartedly concede that what you are saying is fundamentally true and amounts to a couple of advantages for EVs. But EVs are package, not a slick, efficient motor.

If you Google “electric car myths” you will find dozens of articles contradicting everything I said above. But what they don’t tell you is the model that they assumed to produce their data. One thing is for sure: they did not assume a fleet of EVs *equivalent* to the current fleet of gas cars in utility, size, performance and cost. If they did, all of their conclusions (the “package”) would be that EVs are neither as efficient nor as green as gasoline powered *equivalents*, cost 2-3x more and EVs would crush our existing power grids without trillions in investment. The tremendous advantage that an EV drivetrain has can’t overturn these realities. You *will* take huge and intolerable hits in environmental impact, performance and/or cost.

Their data models are based on the type of EVs available today (or better)—vehicles which the market is clearly rejecting for performance and cost reasons despite the advantages (and there are many) of EVs. One could also argue that immediately capping all petrol cars to 1.0L 4cyl engines with 2 gallon gas tanks would improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact while actually *reducing* the purchase point. Do you think the market would bite?

To get back to the topic at hand, this is why the EV is an inappropriate model for F1. Formula 1 is about obtaining maximum performance. EVs as a *whole system* inevitably represent an inescapable loss of performance and detrimental environmental impact. But at least the motors would be superior!


I like electric cars, but I don't really like the idea of electric only in the pit lane. It's not really a technical challenge because the speed in the pit lane is slow for safety, and it's a constant speed. There just is no interesting technical challenge in it. The technical challenge becomes the transition from electric to combustion engine. The fact that an electric motor and a battery can get a car to trundle down a pit lane at a low speed is self evident. No one watching is going to go "wow I didn't know electric cars could do that!". An F1 fan may be excited by a self starting combustion engine in an F1 car, but that's being excited about an petrol engine.


Pit lanes in other formulae have Klaxon's to warn the pit lane that a car is coming in. Is this too complex for Bernie?


I remember warning sounds going off in the 90s when cars came in to the pits at a few grands prix. Not sure if/why that's not the case now.


Tables have turned, at one point, F1 innovations found their way on to production cars, now irs the other way round. Those that say its dangerous for cars in the pit lane, due to lack of noise, can be silenced, by having some kind of alarm, either in the pit lane, (as I think there already is), or an alarm on the actual car, as it goes down the pit lane, but thats not what seems to be on peoples minds, it seems to be its the sheer noise of an F1 engine, that adds to the excitement of the sport, this is a noise that will be changing anyway, once the new, smaller engines arrive.

In all the years I have watched the sport, many changes have happened, and we can argue over them until we are blue in the face, as whatever will be, will be, and it seems Bernie holds the reigns in most decisions.

As for the Toyota thing, well manufacturers have said in the past, if certain changes happen, they will re enter the sport, only for them to change their minds, once things are put in place.

We the fans dont have any say in the matter, but the teams, when they band together do, as without the teams, there is no F1.

Its all up in the air at the moment, and with terms of the 2013 concorde agreement to be settled, now is the time for the teams to stand up and be counted, motor racing seems to be less about motor racing these days, and more about politics.....Me I will sit back and see what transpires,whilst you James, will keep me informed, but F1 should be kept as F1, and any EV series should be a separate thing......


i'm agree with Ecclestone..and until the electrical engines will not be extremly developed should not be talking of introducing in F1


I agree that the drama is certainly influenced by the noise of the cars but to say that people are going to get killed because cars aren't loud is such a factious argument...It's amazing how many dead bodies of deaf people we don't see littering our roads isn't it 😉


Top Gear again told some "ahem" untruths about the EVs so please don't believe them (just google their apology for the Tesla to find out about that)

on a fast charger it only takes 20 minutes to recharge 80% of the Leaf's battery and the battery life will only lost 10 to 15% of its power over 100,000 miles, I'm sure petrol engines lose a lot more MPG over the same distance.

But for me F1 should not go electric, the noise is a huge thing for the sport. You don't need to watch it just hear the engines roaring and you know what the sport is.

Road cars will go electric sooner rather than later and Hydrogen won't work for normal cars, it might work for the larger vehicle like ships


So the GP finishes and coverage goes to the new FIA EV Series. Everybody switches off.

The idea that an F1 audience would be interested in watching suped up disability chairs going round the circuit is laughable. I hope it stays laughable for a very long time.


You might not be interested, but that does not mean everyone else won't be either.


Its so funny, or is it sad, watching the Clarkson type dinosaurs panic over electric, trotting out the same lame excuse of noise over an over again because its the only argument they can think of. Yet any one with even a half a brain can see it is bogus. Yeah, Bernie, keep the sport in the dark ages.

Wont matter much in the UK as F1's sell out to Sky will turn them off anyway. So, they might as well get their phallic pleasure from V12 with carbs, selfishly burn all the fuel they like and end up beached when it runs out.

There will come a time when the average Joe is priced out of driving at all, it's happening now with young people. As that happens people will turn on the greedy glutinous ignorant F1. And Bernie and co. wont see it coming. Just like the arrogant blinkered Murdoch.

Shame, every time F1 has an interesting innovative idea, the run scared from it.


Other reasons against electric cars include being much heaver than normal cars, more expensive than normal cars, and needing charges (which take hours and hours) every hundred miles or so.

Look at a Leaf vs a Yaris. The Leaf costs nearly 3x as much money. It would take decades of driving to recoop that loss even if you pretend electricity is free. Electric cars may be the future, but the future is not today and the truth remains that normal cars are more affordable for any budget, at least for today.


Is Bernie saying that the great minds on the pitwall don't know their green cross code? And that's a reason not to have hybrid cars? Perhaps his eyesight isn't what it used to be, but it's not like the cars are invisible...


Let’s be honest, Bernie usually gets his way.

And this is supposed to be Formula One.

All the suggestions we see about making F1 greener etc are all well and good. But how much fuel does and F1 season take up?

Less than a jumbo across the atlantic??

Formula One should be the pinnacle of motor sport, not some dumbed-down exercise for pseudo-policticians.

And cost-cutting is fine in the current economy, but perhaps someone should be addressing the costs of the lower formulae on the ladder to F1.


If F1 wants to be greener (not sure it should) it could consider...

1. Shorter races

2. Cap fuel use over a weekend and leave it up to the engineers to work out how to get the fastest car on the least fule

3. Unlimit all aspects of KERS

4. Offest all fuel use by planting a forrest inside each track

On the electic motors in the pits thing it wouldn't be hard to set up a horn system to warn people cars are approaching but more worrying is that cars now have 2 engines which double the chances of a DNF through engine failure. In fact more than doubles as there have been more KERS failures than regular fails this season.

How annoying if we're deprived a thrilling race because on the the contenders electric motors dies at the start of the pit lane without any warning?


Bernie just can't stay quiet for a minute can he, another attempt to undermine the FIA.

Correct me if i'm wrong but don't the Le Mans cars do electric pitstops already? I don't remember hearing about any pistop massacres at this years race.

I agree with people that electric cars are not the future and the idea mentioned a few weeks ago of electric starts sounds horrible. Hybrid engines and electric only pitstops however would definately be road relevant and push the bleeding edge of the technology. Also it isn't anywhere near as dangerous as Bernie is for the future of F1.


See Top Gear last ep.... unless they plan on doing short races I can't see electric cars being that great soon....


Electric in the pit lane, not a whole race. Geddit?


From JA's post "This goes back to an interview I did in April with FIA president Jean Todt, where he discussed launching an EV racing series with backing from the EU."

I was referring to an all electric racing series, not F1.


Yes, I see that now. Sorry.


Right, like we can believe Bernie after the "There will be no we are selling to NewsCorp" statement and then 7 weeks later he sells the coverage rights to Sky who are 39% owned by - you guessed it -NewsCorp.

And does he think all people who work in the Outland are stupid and blind?

He is suggesting people will die because a car does not make a noise. Maybe he might but I pit it to you that the people working in the pit lane are just that little bit more cleaver than say a Ground Hog and have the ability to look at what is happening in the pit lane too see if there are any cars coming and to make the decision whether or not to walk in the potentially dangers path of a moving car.

This is just another of Bernie's tantrums. Wonder how much more of F1 he is going to ruin.


It's important to separate electric engine technology (just one moving part, great torque/weight) from power source technology. Clearly on-board generation in the form of fuel cells(perhaps with short-term battery storage as per KERS, or storage flywheels) is the answer, rather than overnight charging of large batteries.

I think the "electric only in pitlane" is being introduced to force all teams to run KERS, thus bolstering F1's green credentials.

However I don't buy the safety argument - F1 and other formula already use sirens to warn pitlane occupants of approaching cars or bikes. The F1 pitlane is a carefully controlled environment and electric cars can be made as safe as loud IC (internal combustion) ones in this context.

Sadly, global resources mean the IC engine must be replaced eventually.

Motorsport, be it F1, an EV-specific series, or other formula (e.g. TTzero) is the perfect cauldron to develop this technology and refine the safety requirements. Improving the breed has always been motorsport's secondary purpose, after entertainment value.


Finally someone talking some sense!


will the electric F1 cars be eligible for the £5000 cashback from the the government, this could be a real shot in the arm for some of the teams?


If F1 can get timing beams right for drs, and kers for 7 seconds - then surely trip beams in the pitlane triggering lights and sirens as a car enters is simple enough. Development of on-off electric could prove very useful for hybrid and fuel cell systems for passenger cars.

I just think Bernie wants his name in the news in the summer break!


Very good point, throw something else out to annoy the fans to take our minds off the BBC/SKY Farce.

Marty McSuperFly

At the risk of repeating myself from past threads, F1's carbon footprint does not come from the race engines. If Tolt is really serious about tackling it, he would be wise to audit the sport, rather than tack on gimmicks which do the cause of alternative fuels no good at all.

I’m all for meaningful exposure of technology, but an F1 car running in the pits on a battery is not one of them. Endurance racing is where this technology should be showcased. Open wheel racing has little to no bearing on any vehicle anyone on this planet drives.

@lufferov - I hate the spoil it for everyone, but the future will have electric vehicles in the mix. They won’t replace the majority of cars, but they will be there. Hydrogen fuel cells are brilliant, but cost effective generation, containment and infrastructure are still a long way off.

In 20 years time few nobody will be laughing at what it will cost to own and run a car. Let the good times roll 😉

@Foz - Please, for the love of all that is good, don’t use ‘top gear’ as an information source!


hey, peel back the bias and some good points were made in top gear regarding the ineffecies of batteries. Take it with a pinch of salt but there is no escaping the range and re-charge issue.

Solve the battery problem and EV cars will be fine.

Good point in the carbon footprint 🙂


I haven't seen the episode yet, but they are clearly comparing apples with oranges, when petrol cars were developed they only had a very short range, due to very small fuel tanks, poor economy, and the fact you could only buy fuel in one gallon tins from big towns saddlery supplies shops. You couldn't carry more than 2 tins for fear of overloading or explosion, and the tins were not designed to be stacked. No one had invented the petrol station! Sounds crazy but petrol cars were just a mega expensive toy for the rich, it was only that oil was cheaper to produce than water for 30 years and Rockerfeller owned most of it and needed to sell it fast, that caused it to win the battle against electric cars. A friend has an electric car, from 1909, it is road registered and has been a daily driver all that time, the car has never had a rebuild other than tyres, has been very very cheap to run, even including the cost of new lead acid batteries every 5 years, it's a beauty.


Looks exactly like the packing line in any big fmcg factory, James.


The trouble with Top Gear is that a lot of the audience don't have the sense to see it is biased and even fewer will actually look in to the various issues properly. It can easily badly damage the credibility of a technology that has potential.

There may be no escaping the range and recharge issues but there is also no escaping the fact that oil is finite and has many uses beyond fuel.

Personally, I see a future where most people own a compact electric vehicle with a short range and hire larger / longer range vehicles as and when needed. Most driving is short range commuting and 'nipping to the shops'. With proper charging infrastructure that can easily be achieved by current technology. I agree that range is an issue but why develop one solution to cover all eventualities when it could be more efficient to have several options available?


I'm not sure how that will work when households regularly have two or even three cars. Where are people going to park them at home where they can be plugged in?

Where I live I often have park several streets away, there's no way I can charge it for 10 hours overnight for the next days commute!


Seems many fans are upset about the lack of engine development. Perhaps a fuel amount use limit per race really is the answer, while at the same time opening up the engine rules?

Look at all the direct injection engines which improved fuel economy over last few years. Perhaps these F1 brainiacs can come up with some technology which will sip fuel and deliver crazy performance from a set amount of fuel. Honestly, in my view 4 cylinder should have stayed on. Excellent comment in a previous article about BMW 4cyl turbo at 12000 rpm and 1300hp - no one was complaining about the noise and performance then.


Noone else getting a bit tired of the FIA coming up with a set of rules and Bernie/the teams/the circuits/both Bernie and the teams saying "hell no, we don't like that"?

It's been a (very) repetitive theme recently.


Lets put this in context:

We already have hybrid F1 cars, we just call it KERS. Which generates 80-odd horsepower and should be quite sufficient to drive an F1 car and driver weighing 650-odd Kg down the pitlane at the 80kph speed limit. (If it's not enough, and the max KERS power output needs to be increased from 60Kw, then personally I'm all for that as the KERS effect at racing speed would be greater)

All we're talking about here is cutting the petrol engine and engaging KERS at the pitlane speed limit line and restarting the petrol engine, disengaging KERS when the driver takes their thumb off the speed limiter button.

Is this such a drastic change?

An ever increasing number of road cars have stop/start systems that cut the engine when the vehicle is stationary. Is applying that idea to an F1 pitstop really that bad?

Regarding safety, are we really suggesting that F1 personnel aren't intelligent enough to look the right way down a one-way street before crossing it and need to hear the car?


It is pretty big yeah, you don't just turn a key to start an F1 cars engine! How and when would the engine be restarted?


The same way we have been doing in our "hybrids" we build at school to do 24hour races for at least 15 years. Use the momentum of the moving car to "kick" the motor into life. Or link the KERS to the motor via a clutch (if it isnt already) and you have a very powerful starter motor.


I'd agree with Bernie, it's too early to remove noise from F1, specially in an age when most of people lose interest in F1 due to it "not being like the old times"! Nevertheless, it's true that Electric Technology should be developed in Motorsport, and it obviously includes the WRC, Le Mans Series and F1. In F1, for example, I think we could see an Electric Safety car, for example. I think it would be a way to include electric cars without upsetting the fans. For example, the Tesla Roadster is less than a second slower than the SLS AMG, so, I'd say that it would be possible.

It's a whole different matter whether they could do this or not, because it's all about the money from Daimler AG.


Mates, I think what we should understand is that F1 is not bigger or more important than our Mother Earth, the life and balance on it. We all do love F1 and racing and we should maintain it, but while finding ways racing to be less and less harmful the environment. Here's a vote up for greener F1!


Tex, you mean well, I know and I love this green earth too, but let's get a little perspective here: the recent eruption in Iceland shoved more heat into the environment than ten years of F1 races. There are volcanoes pouring heat into the atmosphere all the time, our contribution is negligible. The planet is coming out of one of its Ice Ages, the last one was just a few seconds ago in Earth time, naturally it's getting warmer. Sometime in the future, when only Bernie will be around to see it, there'll be another shift towards cold, what will all the pundits be shouting for us to do to F1 then?

Why does F1 need to carry the burden of the world? Why do we have to shoulder this burden of saving the planet? Who says we have to be 'seen to be green'? Who decides what degree of green is enough?

The world has a lot more problems than the resources F1 uses. If there was a serious intent to save something, perhaps we could switch off the lights on motorways for a few hours during the night and do away with night races, like Singapore. The truth is that nobody really means all the rhetoric yet.

While I'm ranting I'd like to say that the ability to preserve your tyres, rather than drive faster than the opposition, is not, in my opinion, racing. Commendable, yes and quite entertaining, but not racing.


On average, annual emissions from all volcanoes are around 100th the emissions produced by human activities. If you are going to make statements please base them on the scientific facts. Let's leave the misinformation to J Clarkson esq.


Thank you for clearing that up.

I must have misunderstood and thought you were trying to claim that the rapid increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere over the last 200 years (up from 280ppm to 391ppm and still climbing) is not the result of humans extracting and burning fossil fuels. Apologies.


In case you missed the point, this discussion merely concerns the effect of F1 in relation to nature's activities, we aren't discussing the effect of all human activities in terms of volcanoes. I am as aware as you that burning off the Indonesian rain forests and clearing the Amazon basin are not good things to be doing, but they are outside the context of this discussion.


Thank you terryshep for your reply. Volcanic eruptions have been around all the time in history of mankind, I surely don’t know their frequency, but they occur wherever there are active ones and they have their “contribution”. But with the volcanoes example, I think you’re raising the debate whether the Earth itself is naturally warming or the mankind has significantly contributed for disturbing her balance by raping, instead of using her respectfully.

I don’t think that human contribution is negligible. The fact remains that since the beginning of the industrial era the average temperature on the Earth has increased by 0,74 ºC and to prevent the most severe impacts of climate change, scientific evidence shows that the world needs to limit global warming to no more than 2ºC above the pre-industrial average temperature. To stay within this ceiling, what’s necessary is to halt the rising trend in global greenhouse gas emissions, which have been increased by total of 70% from 1975 till 2004. I aknowledge the volcanoes, but I think we should aknowledge the human part too.

I’m not saying that F1 needs to “carry the burden of the world” alone on her shoulders, but with F1 being as a piece of the “human part”, it could at least “clean up her own yard” and by that be the locomotive for the rest of the racing world. The message for awareness would be clear to all the vast audiences and a variety of green measures can be taken, if the intentions are sincere. For sure probably many don’t really mean all the rethoric as you say, but others really do and start from themselves.

And thank you to you James for opening this topic, I see you’re enjoying it too.


Tex, thank you for your thoughtful response, but I fear you are taking my remarks out of context in expanding the discussion as you have. My 'negligible' remark was in reference to F1's effect as opposed to the other influences on the planet.

However, I would like to ask, in regard to the figure of 0.74 degree rise in global temperature during the industrial expansion, whether figures exist for the portion of that increase due to seismic activity and/or perturbations of the Earth's orbit, plus the heat generated by the exponential rise in the population during this period? I would doubt it, so we have a flawed statistic, meaningless for the purpose of apportioning responsibility.

Still, this is not the place for that argument and I do take your point about the possible subliminal effect of some 'green' gesture on 600 million TV watchers. It's just that I'm a little cynical about all the breast-beating when the same people turn a blind eye to the Singapore race.

It's important to decide what it is we are trying to do with EVs. They alone won't address the Jumbos transporting the personnel and the cars, all they will do is save a few litres of fuel - and at what cost in terms of resources used and wasted in battery production and charging?

We'll have to hope that your desire to see a beneficial effect on our tenth of the world's population will have the desired result and a few light switches will be turned off. I'm not holding my breath.


Thanks. I enjoyed your comment, interesting style


I am for a greener F1 but there are so many ways to do it outside the racing that would make a far bigger difference.


The point is that F1 influences consumers. The rest of the circus may use far more fuel than the races but you don't get millions of people tuning in to watch the trucks driving down the motorway to the circuit.


I see your point but if you have to loose core attractions that made the sport to accommodate looking green to the world then maybe its a step too far.

What other sport is so ready to loose any of its appeal for the green cause. None because no other has a president more interested in these issues and political correctness than their own fan base.

The thing is F1 can do a lot more to be environmentally friendly without getting involved in the races which isn't happening right now.


The 'people will get run over' argument is almost laughable. Using one's eyes to check for cars in the pit lane will become a valued skill - maybe I should apply now and add 'ability to use eyes' onto my CV?


How bout this, get rid of the at least 200+ 2 stroke hand held blowers that the teams use to cool their cars when they return to the garages during the sessions. That would be a step toward a greener series. Nobody was using these a few years ago, now they are everywhere. If the FIA have such a hard-on for electric vehicles, what aren't ALL the support cars electric or at least hybrid?


I will be last person on earth who would buy an electric car. I will stick until I die with my three petrol cc engines.


I thought the dinosaurs had died out?


No it's more like a glass of an old and rare whiskey


There is a simple way to get round the quiet EV problem... when the pit lane limiter button is hit, to switch to EV mode, a speaker is also activated with a engine sound of a current engine on the speed limiter. Voila, everyone can hear the car coming, and it's running on electric power. Simple.

And think of the added torque when leaving the pits as it transitions over from electric power to fuel again. Or even power the front wheels electrically for AWD launching, then revert to RWD when the KERS boost is depleted.

Now that would get you some grip coming out of the corners, which would mean managing your KERS around the whole track, not just on the straights.


Imagine if motoring had been electric to this day and now they tried to introduce liquid fuel.

Nay-sayers would point their finger at the fire hazard, toxic gases and noise. Surely too dangerous technology to ever be used in motor sport.


Bernie, your future is electric, in the form of your mobility scooter when you retire! (sooner the better).

F1 also has to look forward, & realise it's place in developing technology for us all to benefit from in the future.

Fuel cells are the longer term future but still use electric motors, controllers, batteries etc. & would also benefit from ERS as much as any other car can.

What the new rules could do with is a durability element to the ERS rules, maybe each battery has to last for 4 races or something similar to the current engines/gearboxes regs.

The electric pit lane reg is primarily as a marketing tool as it will make the ERS systems highly visible to Joe Public.

Embrace the future, so long as the racing is still as good as we have now then this can only be win-win.


The pit's should take as the primary consideration:

1.) Safety of cars entering pits for both damage & tyres/fuel; including pit staff.

2.) Reasonable time to return of car to tack.

Using the pit's as a gimmick is jsut wrong.

Lets consider the following:

1.) A car enters pits under 100% petrol-motor at high speed.

2.) Driver hits electic-only mode

3.) electric-only mode does not operate as expected (overheating/damage etc).

4.) Accident.


Keep it simple, keep it safe.


Not the biggest fan of Bernie these days but certainly agree with him on this issue.

Wish Jean Todt would just go away and stop trying to ruin F1. He's a complete disaster.

If he rubbed shoulders with the fans as much as with all these politicians there might be some hope for him.


What a crock. Electric F1 cars? Who's gunna go and watch that garbage. Turn down the volume for the entire race next time you watch F1 on TV. How long do you think you will last? F1 cars should run on ozone burning petrol and scream till your ears bleed. Imagine having to retire from the race because your overheated petrol engine wont fire up upon exciting the pitlane. Borrrring...


Firstly, I've written this before and I'm sure James will concur: I was lucky enough to get a pitlane pass once as a friend of a driver; it is an extremely dangerous place and the reality is that the noise from the track is unrelentingly loud so that you cannot hear cars coming down the pitlane anyway. Pit crews rarely cross the pitlane for that reason (and the fact that they have jobs to do!) and when they do they LOOK, usually more than once!

Secondly, Toyota's record attempt sounds like a Tesla and they have recently signed production agreements with Tesla. I drive a Tesla Roadster and am deliriously happy with it - I have a 245 mile range, it charges quickly and is a thrill to drive. One was recently driven from John O'Groats to Lands End....range problems, I don't think so. Perhaps a few of you EV naysayers could do some research and maybe even try it out for yourself.

Finally, Top Gear is entertainment, not a documentary. I like to watch it for fun also, but they basically rip every car they drive unless it is a 4mpg supercar with a top speed of 200mph. They bang on about hydrogen, but never mention the fact that there is only one hydrogen fuel station in the UK. Nnjoy it for what it is, but don't kid yourselves that real car education comes from watching Top Gear.


You know this is all well and fantastic for technology but have they asked how we fans feel about it? I don't want here a bunch electric cars fly down the straight! I want to hear the roaring of engines flying at high speed! That is what makes F1, F1. I am all for change but heck keep the things that make F1 so spectacular!

I might be a bit traditional but heck all this electric stuff, come on!!


How to square the circle... just wait for a few more years for Bernie not be around anymore.

Sarcasm aside... there is a new Bernie here who gets involved with the F1 technical regulations.

I hope that Todt gets this off the ground the surely the manufacturers will get behind this.

An EV series would become the technological pinnacle of motor sports. Couple EV series with a appealing Social media platform! Could beat F1, especially if we get down to high performance cars.

I personally would like to see Bernie loose big time one day, but am afraid he won't see that day himself.


Yet again, we see the F1 big wigs overlooking the most obvious solution to reducing costs while introducing green electric cars:

If the whole sport was scaled down in size to 1:32 then everything would become far more affordable with the huge benefit of being able to host the event in a different loft each race weekend.


Quite a debate, brilliant.

I'm all for better, faster, stronger, especially in motor sport. I think adding battery electric and fuel cell into Le Mans would be incredible interesting. As for F1 expanding the energy capture and reuse (Kers) allowing the teams to create as much power as they like for as long as they like would yield huge advances in the technology. We might need a spending cap!

Toyota had one of there electric cars at goodwood, it was interesting seeing it wiz by, but the lack of noise is a little unnerving.

As for electric on the road it's worth looking at the better place project... here is the Ted Talk...


I think all of Bernie's arguments stem from the perspective of a guest in the Paddock Club, who he seems to think is generally a dullard that needs a circus to be entertained.

In between cocktails some very loud cars speed by. Then a few times per race (I notice he doesn't mind the new tires) one of the top teams, say Ferrari or Red Bull, all stream out in their matching outfits and a car stops to have it's tires changed.

Everyone can stop their conversations for a minute to hang over the guard rail and watch the ants swarm the car until it suddenly lights up the rear tires coming out of the pit box with a huge amount of sound and fury to go with it.

I prefer to think that most of the people in the premium grandstands over the pits are actually following the racing and aren't just there for loud noises and crashes.


If you want electric F1 cars, you can build slots into the circuits with conductors either side where the cars can pick up their electricity. Proven technology; been around for years, developed by Scalextric!


Electric power during pit stops is ok by me, but going electric for the start is a bad idea from a marketing standpoint. The noise at the standing start is an integral part of F1.

A silent standing start would be like having Christmas without the tree!


If F1 wants to be the world's leader in green racing technology then so be it. I won't be watching if it's silly rules to make it happen. I watch F1 because it is, well not as much anymore, lightly restricted motorsport. I want to see innovation and experimentation. If that includes electric bla bla bla, then maybe it doesn't hurt the show..... But it also stirs almost no excitement on my part.

What the heck, they can probably afford to lose one fan.


F1 should be F1, very loud and brash.


Electric racing would make an excellent support race for F1. I would definitely trade the F430 race I saw in Canada for something exciting and futuristic. If electric racing is going to stick, the FIA should target exposure to F1 fans. And hey, it would give everyone's ears a break!


Still my idea of a limit on fuel works. Limit the fuel allowance for the year and let electricity be a way to circumvent that.

You have a hybrid? Good. You will have less of a weight penalty on races if you play this right and you can use the extra fuel for, say, test.

100% electric cars? Excelent. You can even test freely.

Whichever technology is better in the competitive framework will prevail.


To be honest I think the whole global warming thing is mass hysteria, the world has always experienced fluctuations in climate - why are we no longer in an ice age? There were no cars to emit greenhouse gasses to melt the ice ten thousand years ago! I sincerely hope that motorsport and particularly F1 does not fall victim to the electric disease.


I think that running out of oil is a more pressing worry than global warming...


Oil is not going to run out as soon as one might think. There is an incredible amount of oil mixed with sand in Alberta, Canada. This oil is expensive to extract and not profitable right now, but when the price of oil reaches a certain point it will make economic sense to extract this oil. Increases in the price of oil are not ideal (although they may deter consumers toward alternative sources!), but it does mean that there is much more oil in the Earth than the easily-accessible but shortening supply from the middle east. So the good news is that we won't instantly run dry one day,


Bernie needs to be careful that F1 doesn't fall behind the times, he should be open to "exploring" new ideas rather than discounting them straight away, let the F1 engineers explore the different options to allow growth in the sport.

I for one can't wait to see the DeltaWing project in LeMans 24 next year after it was ridiculed by many.


One of the biggest arguments used against electric engines is the limited range and time it takes to charge the batteries. It's as if gas powered cars don't need to be refilled every few hundred miles such as they do, or that the average driver goes more than 40 miles per day on average, which they do not.

People seem to forget that it was not so long ago when filling stations were not nearly so ubiquitous. There were far fewer of them and they were a lot more spread out so you had to actually PLAN your trips ahead of time and be careful about where you drove and how far or you could get stuck somewhere A LONG WAY from a filling station. At least with an electric car in the worst case scenario if your batteries ran out of a charge is you would be forced to wait while your car charged itself from a poratble solar panel.

As for the time it takes to charge the batteries, that could be solved easily with a sharing system similar to what is in place for propane tanks used for BBQs: Pull up to a service station, pop your spent batteries out and exchange them for a set of fully charged batteries. Easy peasy.


Good points - you still do occasionally see petrol stations with 'last fuel for x miles' signs outside them.

At the moment with electric unless you are lucky you have to get where you are going then back home to recharge.

One option for the future of course may be a supplementary generator you can fit to your car for longer runs. It could operate at optimum efficiency keeping the battery topped up rather than existing petrol engines which rarely run at their optimum.

Not that we are discussing electric racing here, despite what many posters seem to think, but I can see a future where the circuits have charging 'loops' fitted at strategic points to give the cars a boost as they pass. Either that, or you have to pop in to the pits for a 20 second induction charge 2 or 3 times a race.

However, I doubt we will see that in F1, although we will see a move away from petrol.


All the other arguments against electric engines aside, one thing few people mention is that the electric engine arguably performs better than regular engines. Wider power band, smoother acceleration, no need for using the pinnacle of technology not what F1 is about?

Scuderia Missile

Frankly, whilst electric power is viable within the next 20yrs on a full commercial scale, Europe and its politicians have, within the next 3 months, a much more pressing agenda. Sticking their heads in the sand and talking about green energy is ridicilous when they should be getting on with sorting out the Euro. The economic repurcussions of failing to do that far outweigh and benefit of marketing e-vehicles.


Sure but there are many roles within the EU and not all of them are economic/financial


Maybe the fact that there are so many roles within the EU is part of the same problem.


Its just a gimmick. A useless, pointless bit of nonsense. An entire new layer of complications just for use in the pitlane? Too stupid.

I can't *wait to hear the complaining when Alonso loses the wdc because his F151st blew a fuse in the lane and he had to retire.


Classic Bernie. He'd obviously been saving this one up for the summer break.


The very nature of F1 is to pursue the ultimate in motorsports technology, the optimization of what is possible given a set of limitations to observe (engine, weight, etc.). To make F1 "green" runs counter to the very concept of the formula. "Green" belongs somewhere else - in a separate series, perhaps run on F1 circuits, perhaps even underwritten financially by F1 teams and sponsors, but not in F1 itself.

To make F1 green is to "water down" the formula to the point where it loses its identity. And where will it end - cars running on peanut oil? Solar? Wind-powered F1 cars? The whole idea is ridiculous.


It seems contradictory to state that F1 is, on one hand, the pursuit of the ultimate in motor sport technology and then on the other to start objecting when its pursuit takes it down roads you personally object to. ‘Green’ doesn’t run counter to the concept of F1; it has just evolved to the point where to make advanced racing cars AND ones that also happen to be green to a certain extent are the current envelopes of technology that are being pushed. I think it is exciting. For me it has always been about the twin challenges of what the driver can do with a given car and what the designers and engineers can do to given the scope of the regulations. It’ll never be a sport that is preserved in aspic. While that might mean that there is better or worse racing at times, and certain fashions come and go - go like traction control, thank God - it does guarantee it never becomes staid. F1 simply has to be left to play out the way it plays out and we shall see. It’s a sport unlike most others in that the future will always bring change and I’d have thought most F1 fans grasped that intuitively and didn’t just see it is as plain old racing, which they can get anywhere.


I'm sorry, but it is your grasp of what is proposed that is ridiculous - and that of many other posters on here and other blogs.

What is being proposed is not making F1 'Green' - it is changing the emphasis to a new form of propulsion.

Do you really think the batteries used at the moment are all nice and cosy and made from safe, easy to obtain compounds? And that the motor / generator sets they use are pulled from the nearest milk float?

F1 will still be at the cutting edge of whatever technology is used and will always use the most appropriate materials are available to get results, no matter what the other implications are.

However, the FIA have recognised there is a need to further reduce the amount of fuel used by all forms of transport. Using F1 to showcase them is the ideal way to negate the preconceptions you and a significant amount of people hold.

I don't recall anything in the new rules that even hints that electric cars are on the horizon for F1 in the future. What they are doing is allowing teams to exploit ways to recover energy that would otherwise be wasted.

OK, so electric on the pits is a bit of a gimmick but it is also making a good point that electric is more efficient than petrol at lower speeds while being an effective supplement at higher speeds.


Hydrogen = Dead end

Batteries = Dead end

Synthesizing hydrocarbons from atmospheric CO2 is the future!

Hydrogen has a stupidly low energy density, added to the fact that you need stupid amounts of energy to produce, chill and compress it.

Batteries need stupid amounts of time to recharge (admittedly new tech could change this) and are heavy even when empty.

Hydrocarbons (read: petrol & diesel) are proven tech, with huge energy density, (relatively) easy to handle, quick to recharge/refuel/replace, and if we can synthesize them from the atmospheric CO2 using carbon neutral electricity (i.e. solar) they have almost no overall environmental impact. Win, win, win!


For hydrocarbons, you need hydrogen and carbon. CO2 only has carbon and oxygen. You're missing an ingredient.


Point taken.

Wrongly I wrote this without thinking that most people aren't familiar with the processes in this area, and considered the hydrogen source as a given.

The hydrogen will be obtained from water via cracking, the same method used to obtain it for hydrogen cars but done properly, the hydrogen doesn't need to be stored for any length of time, as it will be fed straight into the hydrocarbon synthesis.

The main point I was trying to make was that by recycling the CO2 waste that everybody associates with climate change, you take away a big objection to petrol powered F1 cars as "causing climate change".


The Dictator says no. This is the same dictator who said "we go to Bahrain. Its fine."

As for Loud & Brash, that disappeared with the exotic fuels and the V10s.


Electric in the pit lane is a secondary issue compare to the broadcasting rights issue of moving F1 to pay only TV for 50% of the live races. I won't be giving a penny to Murdoch so quite frankly I could n't care less at this moment.


More electric-car technology in F1 is a good thing. The debate shouldn't be about noise or safety in the pitlane. That's misleading. It should be over what F1 is about -- cutting edge technology or outdated, romantic technology. If it's the former, well, everyone can see electric vehicles are part of the future. If it's the latter, F1 is at danger of becoming irrelevant, like NASCAR.

Once you drive a hybrid and notice that its engine turns off at stoplights and other times when it isn't needed, then fires up again when you need to go, you realize how intuitive and simple such a complex system actually is when in use. Every car in the near future will have this feature to save increasingly scarce.

I for one would follow F1 even closer if it pushed itself into real-world relevance with more electric power. I think an electric-only pitlane would be amazing, and would underline just how real the electric power is on the cars. I also think more electric power could allow for more variables built into the formula: Limit the amount of fuel over a race, limit the size of batteries, then let the engineers figure out the fastest compromise, or push them to improve efficiency.

There's such energy and youthful enthusiasm in many of the electric vehicle start-ups out there right now, and this would also be a good thing to bring into F1. The corporate old world behemoths and their huge motorhomes turn a lot of us off. I'd rather see a brand like Tesla or Fisker backing a team and bringing the sort of shakeup they've already brought to the regular automotive world.


The idea of electric racing is laughable.

Fundamentally, everything is based in oil. What are tyres made of? What are chassis made of? What produces the electricity that pit wall computers run on? What are those computers made of? EVERYTHING is oil based one way or another. Oil is used in the production of all of the above and every other little component you can think of down to Christian Horners shoes. Hydrogen + electric powered cars are somewhat ridiculous when you put them in context. Yes they may run without burning fuel but everything else about the cars are a product of massive amounts of carbon being burnt. The energy saved by running electric or hydrogen powered vehicles is miniscule compared to the energy used to create them. Unfortunately we have a one way system. The sell by date is nearly up on this sport as is. The noise, speed and torque, everything that makes it F1, is dying, please let's not kill it off completely by chasing these insignificant(in terms of reward) endevours.


Surely you all know that you aren't listening to V8 racing cars at the moment? You are all savvy enough to know that you don't have an F1 car in your living room. 600 million of us watch F1 on TV and what we hear is a digital conversion of that noise, fired 50,000 miles up to a satellite and down, then radiated out to us and converted by our TV sets into a sound. What's to stop that sound being projected when an EV F1 car passes?

Does it matter that the motive power used by Lewis Hamilton to fight with Fernando Alonso or Seb Vettel is electric, or even ion drive, as long as we get our fix of engine sounds and the racing is close? Eventually, I suspect that the noise won't matter as our perceptions change, the racing will be all we care about.

In actual fact, how long do you think it will be before the environmentalists are saying that using electricity generated by fossil fuels or green methods to power F1 cars is unsupportable?

Ten years ago, racing was much the same as we have now. I fear that it won't be, ten years hence - so enjoy what we have now while you can.


This has definitely been a great topic of discussion. I think the first step should definitely be some sort of hybrid solution... whatever that may be.

I think that a switch to fully electric is not something all the manufacturers would embrace simply because they will not be able to instantly transfer that technology down to their production road cars.

As far as the "silent" electric F1 cars driving through the pit is concerned, that wouldn't be a major issue because they can add noise to solve the problem.


In my mind there is nothing wrong with formula 1. Why does F1 have to persue a greener image? No other sport does. The ironic thing is, and I'm sure some of you would know the specifics of it, is that the current F1 engines are reasonably fuel efficient especially when you consider their rpm and power. I dont know if this is true but I heard somewhere that cosworth's V8 can get around 50 m.p.g. The reason the teams only get 4/5 m.p.g is downforce. The FIA and FOTA constantly moan about costs, and fair enough spending a million pounds or more a day on an f1 team as ferrari & mclaren reportedly did in the early 2000s isnt sustainable. So why not get what we all want, drastically cut aerodynamics so we see cars sliding around the track and boost fuel economy (I imagine there is more to fuel economy than aero but its a sizeable chunk).

Another point I'd like to discuss is why in the last 5-10 years has the "buzz phrase" in F1 is for it to be relevant to road cars? Sure technology has in the past trickled down to the everyday driver, better gearboxes, brakes, tyres, seatbelts etc. but these were developed in a time when there was much greater technical freedom in the sport. I dont see myself attatching a front wing or blown diffuser to my citroen anytime soon. If Toyota or Nissan or anybody else wants to develop EV's then why does it have to be through F1, a sport which is renowned for its loyal and obsessive fans who care and want to have a deeper knowledge of their sport than say an average sports fan. We are petrol heads by nature in my opinion, and an attempt to have "silent" cars in the pits and potentially at the grid start would be a very very sad day for people like me. I dont think F1 would attract new fans just because its more electric. It would be like watching a football match in an empty stadium.


I'm just going to put this out there:

I get the feeling that everyone who is against the idea of electric ANYTHING in F1 are the same sort of people who didn't like being told that smoking is bad for you, or that they couldn't put leaded gasoline in their cars. Times change, they PROGRESS.

NASCAR uses 60 year old engines, watch that if you like. F1 had never been about stagnation, let along regression. Why can't we accept that times change (almost always for the better), and not get bogged down thinking that anything different is bad.

I for one welcome the changes. Elite car manufacturers are producing hybrid cars, mainstream manufacturers are now moving onto full electric (anyone who thinks a bad, unabashedly biased review on TopGear is the death knell of electric is delusional). Why not let F1 be the front runner, instead of clinging on to your ear plugs for the sake of perpetuating archaic technology?

Ecclestone is not right about everything. He hates electric, but he loves Sky. Where does that leave you?


Agreed. Weren't the earliest auto races staged to promote and advance a new technology? I'm sure at first the horse & buggy was much more reliable than the early automobiles. Let the planet's best engineering minds loose on this technology in the competitiveness of F.1 and watch the advances in electric motors!


I don't agree with this 'green' image that they are trying to turn the greatest motorsport in the world into. This is motor racing! Todays fans want high speeds, power and loud sounding engines. Every Ferrari fan including myself want V12 power back in a Ferrari and that is one of the trademarks of Ferrari. The sport should have an open engine regulation as it is the pinnacle of motorsport. It doesn't matter if one, two or three teams dominate. The sport and racing has always been tight. Manual gear sticks in the cars is the way to go, this will bring out the talent! Since we are having another turbo era on the horizon, the cars should be at 1000bhp with the 15,000rpm like it used to be.

If I wanted to see an electric powered Formula I'd take out my scalextric set!


250litres of fuel costs maybe a few hundred dollars, the 4 or 5 battery packs you speak of would be worth god only knows what. Why do exponents of electric powered vehicles ignore the harsh reality that the expenditure required to get this stuff on the road is astronomical. Ever since the Model T, petrol driven cars have been affordable transport for the masses, yet Electric Vehicles remain a heavily subsidised, impractical joke, outside of photo shoots with the Chardonnay set who don't actually have to live with the real world limitations.

god help us, just to get a rechargeable battery for the TV remote that will actually do its job beyond a half a dozen charges costs a small fortune.


If 'heavily subsidized' is your argument against electric then I suggest you read up on your American automotive history. The only reason why the Model T was so successful, was owing to MASSIVE government subsidies for the entire oil/gas industry in the states.

Do you think gas stations popped up over night? The vast majority of cars at the turn of the (last) century were electric, where people could charge their cars AT HOME. Instead, intensive lobbing led to a gasoline infrastructure, which owing to the superior convenience of the technology (at the time, mind you) led to the shift.

Would you rather your TV remote be powered by a small turbo-diesel? Didn't think so.


The point is obviously that despite the heavy subsidization of EV technology, it continues to fail both on the drawing board and in the market place. Not all subsidized technologies fail. EVs have because no amount of spending can make them affordable and practical.

And subsidies are not the *only* reason the Model T succeeded. If they were, then you’d be left to explain why EVs haven’t succeeded considering the massive subsidies spent on them. The Model T (unlike EVs) turned out to be both practical and affordable.


I did mention that the subsidized infrastructure made them the more convenient technology.

EVs will become more convenient (and affordable) as well, as quick charge batteries are produced and gas passes $3/liter.

An important fact that most ppl overlook is the INCREASING cost of gas. I won't get into the peak oil debate, but am only in my 20s and pay twice as much for a tank as I did when I was 16.


Entirely valid points on the development of the auto industry. On the question of subsidies I am happily put right. You lost a couple of points, however, when you got the the question of the remote control - one of my favourite personal appliances is a pocket warmer that runs on a tablespoon of lighter fluid for about 20 hours of tremendous personal heat, so the notion of a remote control that runs on milligrams grams of fossil fuel interests me. I am, however, quite prepared to admit up front that this probably says more about me than the topic under discussion. 🙂


I love F1 but I'm not about to stop progress - when it actually is progress and at the moment EV and KERS are in their infancy and they are somewhat comparable to the old technology of a horse of which the auto-mobile took over.

The electric / fuel cell cars wont stay that way for long - expect the man with the red coat to be removed soon and expect Manufactures to push their power packages to be used in racing - then F1 will change.

Politics killed the GM EV1 which was a good developmental little car from 96-99 but the world has changed now. EV is acceptable, plus, we have now gone over the top of the oil mountain supply and consequently its use will decrease as its cost rises.

New innovative cars are THE ONLY FUTURE - Therefore to stick your head in sand for today saying I like my noisy V8 is and want F1 to never change is a stupid statement ..... things will change .... maybe not to your liking .... but then you just sound like an old man ruing a bygone age.

Hamilton, Alonso, Vetel will all shine in nuclear hover racers which is cool to me ( This actually is not a flippant statement ) - racing will always be racing whether its in a current F1 car or one from 1906 or the future its all good to me.


“at the moment EV and KERS are in their infancy”

I don’t know how such rumors get started. The electric automobile was invented ca. 1830 so it’s clearly *not* in its infancy.

Since the invention of the EV, we’ve seen the advent of manned, powered aviation, television, transistors, atomic weapons, rockets & spaceflight, computers, cell phones, various forms of recordable media and tens of thousands of other useful inventions that have changed everything in human history. These technologies have all moved onto maturity because they work well and are useful. Nobody complains that they are still in their infancy. (No doubt many will continue to grow exponentially, it seems!)

And gasoline powered cars have flourished and dominated largely unchallenged because they work well and are useful too, while EVs have sprung up and died back out a few times because they don’t. Since 1950 F1 has largely ignored EVs (a well-known technology even back then) despite all their wonderful advantages precisely because of their even more awful disadvantages that linger on into the present.

EVs and KERS are not in their infancy. We’re seeing them in the *prime* of their development after 180 years of trying and failing to deliver. Because EVs still persist in underperforming as a system, we give the lame excuse that they are new, underdeveloped technology. POSH!

To the contrary, history tells us that the EV is an old, over-developed technology that’s failed time and time again to change the course of the automotive industry.

Let’s keep it out of F1!

BTW, the hydrogen fuel cell was invented in 1839, remarkably close in time to the invention of the electric automobile. It’s not doing so well either.


Heres a better idea. One that much more inclusive, fan friendly, environment friendly, and maybe fun:

F1 buys a hundred identical golf carts.

At each venue, instead of the fire-breathing monsters we now love, they use *them. All 100 at a time on track. F1 drivers in 26, *fans selected by random draw from those in attendance in the others!


Here is an article relevant to the discussion here and the influence of EVs in F1. The title is, “Ferrari president Luca di Montezemelo doesn’t believe in electric cars, Santa Claus.”

Di Montezemelo says that he doesn’t see Ferrari producing an electric car because they don’t represent an important step forward for pollution, CO2 or the environment. Imagine that!

But I suppose that any number of armchair engineers posting here would know better than Ferrari’s president, just like the engadget journalist who wrote the article:

“Still, it’s not too hard to imagine a future where the majority of autos run on electrons -- whether they’re pushed from batteries or hydrogen fuel cells.”

Apparently Luca is loco and we should trust the journalist (a software consultant) who wrote the article!


A bit late to add on this post(been on hols) but in terms of solar panel efficiency, there are a couple wafer fabs working on some super efficient PV's. The technology is GeOSi (germanium on silicon) and should this be cracked we will all see FAR more efficient PV's. Probably enough to start thinking about PV's as a realistic way to charge these highly toxic batteries, for which the landscape is being raped in order to mine.


Interesting to read all these arguments and remember those who said internal combustion was a toy that can't outrun a horse but billionare horse owners didn't supress the car. Everything takes time.

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