London Olympic Park race a highlight as Formula E 2014 calendar and car outline are released
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Mar 2013   |  8:29 pm GMT  |  228 comments

The promoters of the new Formula E series have released details of eight city centre races that will form the basis of the new zero emission motor sport championship next season. And we want to hear your thoughts on the initial designs for the new car.

The host cities are London, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya (Malaysia), Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. The London event will be particularly exciting as it is believed to be based around the Olympic Park in Stratford. Two more venues are expected to join the calendar before it is finalised in September.

The Formula E races will feature single seater cars powered exclusively by electric energy. The series is targeting drivers of the calibre of Kobayashi, Alguersuari and Kovalainen. Races will last an hour and will feature the drivers swapping cars after 20 minutes, then returning to their original car after 40 minutes when it has been charged, for a final 10 minute burst. As the EV technology improves these “recharge periods” will disappear, highlighting the advances in EV technology and range extension

London Mayor Boris Johnson said, “Zero emission world class motor racing is a scintillating concept and I am hugely keen that London be involved in the birth of Formula E. It has the potential to highlight the impressive strides being made in the manufacture of electric vehicles and hosting a street race could also be of considerable economic benefit to our city.”

The organisers have also released some preliminary drawings of the cars, which will be powered by electric motors, featuring McLaren technology. The designs are from Dallara.

What do you think? Give us your views of the designs in the comments box below.

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Interested in the artist's impression. Why all the air intakes? They don't need air for combustion, and electric motors are well over 90% efficient so there should be very little waste heat to shift.


I am quite interested in this new formula despite being an engine man myself. Just look at the progress year by year in the IOM TT electric class. It is something F1 has lacked as development within strangled rules is expensive and limits interesting designs.

With regards to heat ejection, although the electric cars will produce less heat, airflow will need to be relatively higher. This is due to heat rejection being lower as temperature differential between air and heat exchangers will be lower than IC engines. (Electric components have to run cooler).

Hope my ramblings make sense!


General cooling of everything from Batteries to transmittion...Motor components to the energy recovery system,Quite a silly question really!

Stuart Harrison

Cooling the rear brakes?


The motors themselves are 90% efficient but it's the control modules that need the air to cool.


You know, I thought exactly the same. It looks VERY much like an artists dream and less like a practical concept but then I'm no Aero engineer.

I wonder if this new formula will be somewhat more accessible than Bernie is making F1. F1 is pricing itself into exclusivity with trackside prices and pay TV. Will this new formula be the Formula of the people that F1 started out as? After all the bluster about Pay TV, I notice that last year's viewing figures are down during one of the most thrilling seasons for a long time.....


actually it kind of looks like the IRL Dallara DW12


Maybe that's the idea from the FIA's point of view: move F1 (with it's environmentally damaging image) into a situation where only those who really care pay for the privilege to watch, and re place it with a more PR friendly city-based electric series.

Not a bad idea as it lets f1 be f1 (at least to a certain extent) while actually doling something worthwhile (environmentally speaking) in the meantime.


I definitely like the idea of letting F1 be. I understand it has to eveolve like anything else but less of the politically motivated, constant and bewildering (to casual fans) changes would only be a good thing.


Electric motors also need cooling not as much as internal combustion engines but they require a fair amount. Butteries also need cooling especially when the capacity and the current flow is high. Feel your laptop charger or your phone charger when charging and you will see what I mean.


There is a lot of heat! A 300kW (400Hp) electric motor at 90% would generate aprox 30kW of heat. That's enough to heat a house during winter in Sweden...


Think of the top and side pods as proven crash structures. I am sure they will need the protection lol


The batteries will definitely need cooling. The top scoop may yet just be a hollow roll hoop


Remember the alternator failures? Electrical components are extremely heat sensitive. The rest I imagine would be brake ducting.


Cooling ducts.

Even at 90% efficiency, they're going to need some serious airflow to keep and both the motors and the drives from overheating.




Good point, but without the intakes it would just kind of be a pointy triangle thing with wheels. Air intakes are associated with fast cars; Maybe their only function is to look the part.

At least it doesn't have a step in the nose...


Cooling. Electronics/electrics can run quite hot!


Battery cooling?


No....they get plenty hot...plenty


No, do the maths. Even if the electric car is as powerful as an F1 car, which it almost certainly won't be (let's say 500 KW), at 90% efficiency, you're going to have around 50 KW heat coming off (about 550 KW or so going in). But the F1 car is only 30% efficient max, so you're going to have about 1500 KW going in to get your 500 KW out. So 1000 KW heat compared to 50 KW. That is a HUGE difference ~ 20 times more heat from an F1 car at least.

Plus, on top of cooling, an F1 car consumes about 650 litres per second of air to burn the fuel. An electric car, zero litres.

Run the numbers, any way you slice it, an electric car is going to be outputting a fraction of the heat of an F1 car, e.g. 5% or less.


An F1 exhaust pipe glows bright orange with the heat.

I don't doubt electric motors will be kicking out some heat. But it's not going to be 900 C glowing-mass-of-metal hot. Not everything too hot to put your hand on is simply 'hot'. There are degrees of hotness.


ever used a electric RC Car scale 1/10 with a 3S or even 6S Lipo pack, then you know how much heat "zero emission energy" produces.

those litte engines (powercells) generate up to 30E (about 10A) with only 11v

i think formula E will use lot higher currents ..



Regardless of the source of energy not being combustion you still have a lot of rapidly moving parts generating significant friction and heat in the motors and transmission and the chemical energy transfer in the batteries also generates significant heat


Fair point regarding exhaust gas carrying out heat, but consider of course that this exhaust gas itself is largely composed of the 650 L/s of air that comes in through the airbox. It's effectively air cooling, which is my whole point. I'd expect the electric car to need no airbox, and far smaller vents at the sidepods for what cooling might be necessary.


Big percentage of internal combustion engine heat is dispersed through exhausts, which electric motors don't have - thus still need for some cooling.


My smartphone gets "warm" even with just one small battery.


Races will last an hour and will feature the drivers swapping cars after 20 minutes, then returning to their original car after 40 minutes when it has been charged, for a final 10 minute burst. Maybe my maths is dodgy but that adds up to 70 minutes - more than an hour.

Interesting designs. They look more like jets than cars, and kind of remind me of the futuristic cartoons we used to watch as kids. Could it be that the future might actually look like what they thought it would?

...and yes - I'm still waiting for my damn hoverboard 🙂


> Could it be that the future might actually look like what they thought it would?

Or that the people who watched the cartoons are now designing cars? =)


Whoa...déjà vu...

Do you happen to know Matt by any chance 😉


> Could it be that the future might actually look like what they thought it would?

Or that the people that watched the cartoons are now designing cars =)


Suspect you guys are right 🙂


20 mins in one car 20 mins in another (40 mins into race) then back to original car for a 10 minute burts at come I make it 50 mins? Looks like both our maths are dodgy haha 🙂


i think there is a problem with your maths. 20+20 +10 minutes =50 and im guessing time taken to change cars takes it up to an hour


I think that what he's saying is that one car will be driven for 20 minutes, then the second for 20 for a total of 40 minutes, then switch back to the first car for the final 10 minute burst.

However that only adds up to 50 minutes, so maybe they're figuring with swapping cars it will be close to an hour.


I came up with 50 minutes; 20 minutes for first car, 20 for second car (40 minutes total), and then ten minutes to round out. Either way, a ten-minute discrepancy.


I make it 50 minutes

Change car after 20 minutes

Change car again after an *additional* 20 minutes (40 mins total)

Finish after a 10 minute sprint


I suspect the 40 minutes you quote is cumulative - in other words, 20 mins in the first car, 20 mins in the second and then 10 mins in the first one again, making it 50 mins in total.

I can't help feeling, though, that demonstrating that even the most cleverly-engineered electric cars can only last for 20 minutes before needing to be re-charged may do more to expose the current limitations of electric vehicles than promote them. Still, it's a start.


That's how I read it, and they are allowing 10 mins for the swap-overs?




I think the technology is great, but this seems like a hamfisted way of showcasing it.

If it has good backing though, I'd love to see Kova, Koba, and Alge back in action!


I think its supposed to be swap cars at the 20 minute mark, swap again at the 40 minute mark back to the original car.


I think it means 20 minutes on car 1, 20 minutes on car 2, and 10 on car 1. Allowing for change over time, etc.


Actually it adds up to 50 mins: the 20 and 40 minute points are measured from zero.

The designs are too fussy. I'd like to see cleaner, smoother designs to reduce drag.


It's either 50 or 70, but it ain't 60! 🙂

As for the design, it looks very dated. Not modern at all. If it was thrown into a competition where every team makes (designs) their own bodywork like in F1, this concept would be scraped after the first pre-season test.


50, that's why you are still waiting!


I read that as clock time - in other words, 20 minutes into the race, they switch to Car B, and 40 minutes into the race (20 minutes after the first switch), they switch back to A for 10 more minutes. So that means 50 minutes on-track, presumably leaving the addition 10 minutes for switching.


Two twenty minute stints and a final ten minute stint is 50 minutes. Either way, you're right in that it isn't an hour.


So ... a global, electric Indy Car? I hope the cars look more interesting than that.

I will be buying tickets and going to watch the first London race though, out of pure curiosity!


I might go. In the end it all boils down to the cost of going


I know it's early days James, but if this new formula takes off do you have any plans to incorporate it into your site with regular news and technical articles as you do for F1?


Certainly. I really like the look of it; not all its proposed aspects, but I think the concept of a new kind of racing for a new audience is exciting


James , do we think we'll ever see hydrogen powered racing cars?


James, just a thought - how much of a 'feeder series' will this be in comparison to GP2 and GP3?


Will they be showing this new series on tv ( normal or sky?


Only if Sky thinks they can make profit


James, It sounds very interesting and if it is made available on tv and your site I will certainly follow it. A side point though, I know some people enjoy attending motor-sport events to hear the engines, smell the rubber and fumes. I certainly enjoy that part. I would hate for them to manufacture a synthesized sound just to appease the fans. But at the same time if the cars were almost silent I feel it wouldn't have the same attraction as other motorsport events.


There will be noises from the tyres, from the air being displaced and from the motors. Like this:

It will be considerably quieter, but there will be a noise. I would imagine there will be more tyre squeal in Formula E than in the TT Zero clip.


Couldn't agree more James, and I think anything that gets people excited about alternative forms of power has got to be a good thing - this coming from a dyed in the wool petrolhead 🙂


I completely agree!! It will be something to definitely watch out for!


Cool. So far it sounds promising - I just hope that they avoid making the same mistakes as A1.


I, for one, am very excited! I am living in London, and have taken my daughters (7 and 5) to the Olympics last summer. I also watch F1 races with the older one on TV, and will definitely try to take her to the Formula E race in London.

I hope tickets will be somewhat cheaper than their F1 equivalents, though!


The big question for me is whether it will be live on free-to-air television here in the UK. With Formula 1 making itself ever more exclusive, maybe this would provide an alternative for those of us who cannot or refuse to pay the extortionate amounts Sky are wanting for the races.


I hate to say it - but I can predict sky snatching it up as soon as they get the chance. I just hope I'm wrong.


To be blunt and expression of my views only.

A dead set non event,would I go or pay to watch a

single seater that you can't hear comimg or going

it would be more interesting going to amusement

park and watch kit-cars bump to one an other.

No thanks I will follow the noise.


I guess they'll sound like milk floats with some tyre "rumble" and perhaps the odd "crash" from the suspension as they ride the bumpy streets of the City. I'd like to see Schumi race these, but my money's on Ernie, 'cos He drove the fastest milk cart in the west 😉


Good one,and Benny Hill song it beautifuly.

Can't wait for the tunder of F1-E-Dodgers

as the go past.



How do they overtake if they cant leave the line with the metal strips cut into the track...


The sound of an F1 engine makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand. There is nothing like it, its like the musical, yet guttural snarl of a highly potent, caged beast... Controlled violence.

Normal F1 anyday!


Ahhhh, I think I see where you have made your mistake Onko. The bumper cars down at the amusement park can actually be quite exciting, I believe you may have been watching NASCAR.


But we don't know what they sound like yet. Don't assume they're going to be silent.


The electric motors make quite a noise on their own, and once you add in the sound of the tires and air flowing over the car these will far from silent.


I guess different people watch for different things. Sure the noise is an integral part of F1, but it's the racing I tune in every race to see.

I will find it really interesting to watch a race with almost silent vehicles - providing they've dropped the daft idea of synthesising noise? No it won't be F1. But it'll be different.

I don't like the whole car swapping thing though. Big drawback for me...


The electric cars I've seen clips of on You Tube are not quiet. You can hear every squeak and chirp from the tyres which makes it very interesting. The motor also sounds like a turbine. Don't write it off so quickly.


No noise, cant hear it coming or going, and pure kit car garbage:

I like how you can hear the tyres working, all that under-steer made audible. IMHO, way more interesting and illuminating on the vehicle dynamics and driving styles than a big old Clarkson man roar which tells us little, if anything at all.


Using two cars doesn't seem very efficient. Would be more efficient to change the battery...


i can only agree!

the batteries will be placed almost all over the car, alone because off weight distribution. I think there is no chance to only use one changeable batterypack.



Exactly what I was thinking! It must be possible to design that cars around an exchangeable battery pack, rather than change the whole car. Could be chaos in the pits with everyone's battery running out at the same time!


Yes, but that assumes there is only one battery, or one battery 'pack'... if the batteries are spread around the bottom of the car, then having the driver jump from one car to the other would certainly be faster, if not more efficient.


They considered a set-up whereby the battery would be switched but due to the positioning of the battery for ease and speed of pitstop the FIA ruled the design out, saying it wouldn't comply with safety standards.


I think that'd be a much more elegant solution. If the battery packs could be designed in such a way that you could quickly hoik the lot out and slot a charged pack in that'd give a less fragmented show.

Then you could then have a battery war. Teams with better batteries would perhaps need fewer stops. Or you could elect to go lighter with a lower capacity battery, be faster because of the weight advantage, but need another stop.

Battery strategy, it'll be massive. 🙂


I'm only guessing here, but I think the battery would probably be really, really heavy. It would probably take to long to change it in a race.


Arrgggh! I meant it would take too long.


I agree, I suggested an entire replaceable bottom tray they swap at pit stops.


Bet there has been no consideration for that chap selling earplugs - another casualty of progress!

Car look stunning tho


He might switch to selling rubber gloves. 🙂


Think it's a great idea. Regarding the cars, Dallara have a chance here to completely rewrite the rulebook on formula car design. From the sketches, they definitely have a sincere hint of IndyCar- let's hope they come out with something innovative and futuristic in style-something fit for a race series of the future.


Yep IndyCar rip off comes to mind with the design. They need to think outside the box for this one.

As for the series. Electric cars that aren't capable of getting to the end of a race so you have to use multiple cars to get to the finish line... lol!


It's intended the competition will drive developemnt of better battery technology.


The future exists now is called: Deltawing.


I predict that Formula E will be a flop. After the novelty factor wears off, there won't be enough people wanting to watch glorified golf carts whizzing round a street circuit to keep it going. I give it it 3 years.


agree, total flop


So it lasts three years, that's just about enough time for BMW/Toyota and the Daimler/Nissan/Ford "Hydrogen Fuel Cell' partnerships to make some progress.

I think they've deliberately chosen the name "Formula-E" so it doesn't necessarily need to stand for 'electric' and they can be flexible with the options in the years ahead.

Plus they're pushing the technology so far as wireless static charging and dynamically-induced charging is concerned (electro-magnetic asphalt developed in Korea is already in testing), so there's a strong possibility that it will appeal to a wider audience of tech heads.


Probably with a different spectator profile to existing F1. Much as I never want to lose petrol engines, I can see that they will become dinosaurs one day. All of which says that the 2104 smaller engine plans should be dumped!


Sadly I agree. I don't want to poo-poo any new ideas but I guess I'm a petrol head at heart.

Regarding the design James, I think if they make the front wing flexible and drill some holes in the floor....

Regarding the concept of changing cars after 20 mins, not very practical.


Actually I would definitely watch if they try it with golf carts, especially if they recruit BTCC drivers..!


I'm quite fond of watching glorified model T Ford cars racing on my glorified cat's whisker radio, picking up a glorified applied-mathematics signal from a glorified Hertzian oscillator beaming down from a glorified Sputnik 1.


So you'll stick with watching the glorified lawnmowers instead?


Me to, I can just imagine sitting watching cars that look like Formula 1 cars whizz around at half the speed without making a noise. I think electric cars are the way forward but I can't see it drawing anywhere near as many viewers as F1. I think drawing in a few famous drivers like Loeb and Barrichello would increase the viewing figures significantly.


I tend to agree. Unless it is heavily subsidised by the FIA, I can't really see how it will cover it's costs.


Interesting. Swapping cars sounds odd though, how can they do that safely with cutting corners? If it involves a mandatory stationary time doesn't it risk appearing far too contrived.

Why not several shorter sprint races? Or interchangeable battery cells instead?


It would be more environmentally friendly to have a hamster on a wheel somewhere in the car charging the batteries.

It might sound dangerous for the hamster in the event of an accident, but in the interests of safety the regulations would state that the hamster would be wearing a helmet and a safety harness - and obviously it would already have it's very own roll cage 🙂

Hamsters. Get on board.


or they could charge the batteries on the go with a diesel engine like a conventional submarine 🙂 They could run the diesel on used chip oil for the green effect. Yeah, that's how they'll do it 😉


Or by on board solar panels doubling up as front and rear wings. Useless in the rain tho..


batteries need to be securely attached to the car to avoid them moving around at high speed so cannot be quickly removed to resume racing.

stopping to charge batteries will kill the spectacle after all we've all experienced how boring long safety car periods are.


You mean like front wings?


MotoGP swap bikes in the rain so i dont see too much of an issue. Space in the pitlane will probably be the biggest issue.


MotoGP swap bikes in the rain

I never knew that.


Im the same Glenn - except for the odd race here and there I haven't really watched MotoGP since Doohan retired either.

It's strange though; I used to love watching Doohan ride off int the distance and leave the other guys behind, but I can't stand it when Vettel does the same thing.

I might be biased 🙂


That is just typical MotoGP extravagance of course 🙂

World Superbikes have now switched to flag-to-flag racing like MotoGP (i.e. no red flag if it starts raining) but they will do the same as they do in endurance racing: change wheels.


Thanks guys. I have to admit I haven't watched the top level bikes since Mick Doohan rode a 500cc 2 stroke 🙂 Pretty decent rider Mick.


Yep. The hub design isn't suitable for quick changes, so it's quicker (and much, much safer) to have the 2nd bike set up for rain and just jump on that instead rather than have the mechanics try and rush the change and have a wheel come off a few corners later.


Yeah. If it rains they are allowed to come in to the pits and go on to their other bike which will be fitted with wet weather tyres.


Now you do 🙂

They have a standby bike with a different set up for wet conditions. The biggest difference is obviously rain tyres, but there might be other set up changes which are less visible (suspension etc...).


Maybe there will be a bit of hurdling involved as they jump over other cars while making their way to their next car.


Swapping car is no different to swapping driver. Already done: endurance racing, Le Mans, various V8 Supercars etc. Though as my previous post(#5), changing battery would be more efficient, which is what this series is supposed to be about right?


Sweet. If it is aired on tv / free on the internet then it will work for sure. Without it I can't see people putting money into it.

I can see many companies might get involved in something like this despite normally avoiding Motorsport due to it's bad environmental image.

Sure, not having the sound of a V8 will make it different but the lack of noise makes it so much easier to stage it in cities.


Gah... I wish Boris hadn't used "scintillating" - it's one of my favourite words, and now...

Petty words aside, I'm intrigued! The swapping car concept sounds a bit wobbly, and I would miss the SOUND, but this would neatly solve the dilemma I often have with Formula 1 in that I really really shouldn't take so much enjoyment in such a petrol-fueled sport with the views I have of environmental impact...


Hey, Formula E designers, here is an idea for you.

Allow each team to have a unique sound for the car which is played as they go by. F1 cars have to sound like they sound. Yet Formula E cars can sound any way you want. Be it an Ice Cream Truck theme music, birds chirping, Warp drive engine sounds or any other sound.

It will add to the fun. It will add a sound track. It will allow fans to identify cars by sound. Make sound mixes when cars are passing each other. Better yet, put in a sound linking system that makes different sounds as the cars are in proximity to each other - depending on combination of cars/sponsors on the cars.

Possibilities are endless! So is the fun level.

Also, while getting groceries last week I saw Bernie shopping for his groceries too. I peaked at his shopping list while he was reaching for a box of Fibre. What I was of the Bernie GP shopping list seems very familiar to the Formula E calendar.


I'm thinking they need something like the stukas (maybe not the sound but a device like that) on them lol


Yea, that'd go over well in London.

Stone the crows

The team from Germany gets first dibs on "Ride of the Valkyries."


Okay, then we have dibs on "Waltzing Matilda" 🙂

Stone the crows

Wagner would have have a higher intimidation factor, but a Waltz might help with the driver's rythmn on technical tracks! (depending of course on which foot he brakes with 😉


If we´re talking AC/DC and racing it has to be Highway To Hell



I thought Waltzing Matilda was out national anthem 😉

But nothing wrong with a bit of AC/ least the other drivers can't say they didn't hear us coming 🙂


How about Thunderstruck 🙂 or our National Anthem, TNT. oi...


perhaps the music from Benny Hill...


I like it. You could also have the sounds all operating in unison on a 140BPM loop to keep the crowd hyped, with each car a different drum pattern, synth sound, vocal loop, or stab etc, and as they go past at different intervals from each other, they can live mix a techno track as each element fades in and out s it goes past you.

Carl Cox eat your heart out



I'll be going for the team that plays yakety sax.


Pipes and Drums of the Royal Scots Grays for me!


I have this feeling that Red Bull of Formula E will pay huge amount to have rights to know...Under Pressure, Another one bites the dust, We will rock you, we are the champions. Such play list surely will mean you have a huge psychological advantage on every team on the grid.


They will have to fit the GSS system - the Giant Sound Speaker system, which they can have fitted neatly under their side pods and their rear wing.


Drawings are a bit sketchy... 😉

(Cue comments about AA battery compartment flaps and extension cable connections...)

But I'm (pleasantly) surprised these cities have been named already, so things are moving fast. Cynic that I am, I doubt it will actually happen (for 2014) but hope I'm wrong!


Did I read that correctly? For each race a driver will require 2 cars? How can that be green? And how does it relate to real world motoring?

As I understand it the vast majority of emmissions from f1 are from the logistical effort; jumbo jets hauling vehicles and equipment across the globe. How can lugging twice the amount of vehicles (and additional spares) per driver around be green?


You're failing to consider that this is a prototype series - in other words, it serves as a spur for technical development.

Optimising electrical power trains for racing is exactly the sort of thing which will drive innovation in energy storage techniques - and energy storage is the single most important technology required for a "green" economy.

The rules for the initial series reflect the current state of technology. No doubt they will evolve rapidly.


Nonsense, the technology of electrical engines is already there. This is about people trying to look better. Lets not forget, the logistics of moving this circus around the world, plus all the spectators coming and going, make the fuel burned in the race look like a drop in the ocean. This is not a green sport....its the ultimate non-green sport!


Doobs, can I suggest you read more carefully in future before loosing off with random comments like that. I have followed F1 for 50 clearly I don't want to see it banned! In my posting I am not taking any stand on whether we should or should not go racing, I am merely pointing out the fact that all electrical cars do is shunt the pollution off somewhere else, and noting that the whole racing circus is a big generator of CO2 just by flying so many million airmiles each year. As, no doubt, is football. Period - no views, just statements.


Ban all forms of racing altogether then and return to the dark ages..While you're at it, stop people breathing so much. All that CO2.. bad for the environment y'know.


hear hear


I agree. To use the words 'green' and 'zero emissions' is a bit farcical. The batteries are charged from power stations, so how is it green or zero emissions. Surely it can only be zero emission if it generates it's own power, ie solar etc.

I can't see it going very well until workable batteries are developed. To have to change cars twice in less than hour doesn't say much for the future.

As for the design of the car, where's the imagination? Oh hang on, it's by Dallara.


Good point Andy. Taking this even farther, to be really called "zero emissions sport" the car's components would also have to be manufactured and cars/people/equipment transported between the races using "zero emissions" power. Sounds a bit unrealistic.


Solar power through the streets of London? They might have to up the number of car changes to say... 20?


I'm excited by this formula. Not sure about the car design yet, that could still do with some work. There seems to be something disproportional about it, perhaps that raised front wing.

James I'm hoping that this formula will drive electric technology forward, but with the drivers changing seats mid-race, is there a real onus on the teams to develop their cars still?..


I love the concept of an electric series, especially if they can bring them to different circuits than F1 and make it more accessible.

I really don't see the point of the swapping cars strategy though. Why would you want to build into the sport the very thing that is hindering the uptake of electric vehicles- their lack of range and long/awkward recharging requirements which don't fit in with the way people actually live? By giving in right from the start there will not be any push to improve the technology, and so road cars will get no trickle-down technology which it desperately needs.

Why not have a system which would make the racing pure and also be able to transfer to the road- here's my suggestion...

They swap the whole power pack (battery) out for a fully charged one during a pit-stop. That way it can be changed in a comparable time to a regular re-fueling stop, and its a model that could be directly made possible in all the petrol stations around the world. Imagine driving into a space on the forecourt and the drained battery is automatically pulled form under the car and swapped with a full one in seconds- then you pay a set price for the change (with credit for any electricity remaining in the old unit) and off you go. Quick and easy. All it would need is forward thinking on an agreed standard for the battery packs, or the mechanism by which they are removed and replaced.


Seriously impressive stuff, the future will be different, which is a good thing.


in what way is it different? Its car racing, the only difference is that the fossil fuel burned to generate the power is not burned in the car engine, its burned 50 miles away in a power station. Get real


...whereas with petrol-driven engines you have both fossil fuel being burned at the production end (fractional distillation takes quite a lot of energy after all) and at the user end when it goes into the engine. However you try and look at it, removing one source of fossil fuel burning is going to make a difference - perhaps not a massive one, but it will make one.


Fractional distillation requires crude oil to be heated to temperatures in excess of 400 degrees celsius. Heating to such temperatures requires it to be passed through a furnace, and furnaces generally tend to run off fossil fuel. I trust you can complete the rest.


er, no.

this is about CO2 production, it doesnt matter how the feedstock is burned, if it all burns in one stage or two it will produce the same amount of harmful emmissions


Agreed. And the carbon footprint of this entire new series is??


Is it like big scalextric? My dad reckons the cars will have horn-bee low gos on the sides but i don't no what that means. He also says the locle authoritys probably won't allow the organises to drill grooves in the roads. He larfed his head off when he said that but I think hes loosing it big-time. Anyway, he's shure it won't really go ahead as some deaf bloke called Bernie who rules all car racing doesn't allow silent running sports car events.


Nice idea 🙂

Last I heard some countries were actually talking about the idea of making it law that electric cars had to make some kind of noise so that people could hear them coming.


I would use the horn anyway.



In Australia all electric cars have to drag a case of empty beer cans behind them. It became law in 2013.


Yep, but they soon discovered that it was a waste of time since no-one could hear them over the car stereos anyway 😉


I really love the idea, the concept and the need for it....however I do not think we are mature enough (meaning the following behind clean energy) for there to be a success.....IMO it MUST be attached to a major series for it to have any chance for ANY following past 2/3 races.



Who has the commercial rights?


Al Gore.


All this time I thought it was Green Peace or Amnesty International


George Debenham

I find it impossible to get excited about a spec. series that will invariably form an hour long silent procession but perhaps I'm just a pessamist.


Maybe, but next time they make another Batman film, that should be the Batmobile 🙂


A think is a very good idea but they can go one step further and include the Deltawing design with an electric engine.

I wonder what can do that revolutionary design on that conditions. Can it run for twice the time with the same energy that the other cars?


The thrill of a motor race comes from close racing accentuated by the noise of the motor. Would the viewers have the same thrill with Formula E?


The initials design is far too derivative. Much the same as the first horseless carriages aped their predecessors, this looks too much like a watered-down F1 clone. Formula E needs to define itself with a distinctive aesthetic, albeit one which respects the laws of aerodynamics. If the Nissan->Mazda Deltawing can achieve functionality through uniqueness I don't see why this new formula can't strive to do the same in its own unique way.

Regarding presentation, I would suggest that future ideas posted by yourselves are generated in the round - there are now sophisticated 3D tools available with commercial licences which are absolutely free. For example, it would be straightforward to model a low-detail concept in Blender:-

and then present it here in a totally immersive, web-embedded format via the Unity game engine:-


I agree. I better they think about something really innovative not in a F1 with an electric engine.


are they going to have some form of clickers on the wheels so we can hear them coming???


You'll hear them coming I think. They sound like milk floats on steroids. Now there's an idea, a dual purpose race. Benny Hill would be impressed.


The car seems to be very much an artists impression. The fairings in front of the front and rear wheels seem like a logical attempt to reduce drag, and therefore increase the top speed as these cats will be power limited.

The long tail suggests there might be proper ground effect venturis, which again points to increased aerodynamic efficiency. The small front and rear wings would also suggest this, or similar to a suggestion above a variation of the DW12 in oval spec.

I'm not sure if the undercut on the sidepods is of any use as there is coke bottle shape at the rear. I don't know enough about aerodynamics to be certain, but the undercut would help feed air to the floor. Similarly the canards in front of the sidepods. The undercut would raise the centre of gravity of the battery unit or any cooling system for them.

The proposed size, shape and location of the battery is hard to tell. The general desire to keep the weight as close to the ground as possible might lead to a battery predominantly sits across the cat in the bottom of the venturi. There may be a desire to centralise it more for crash safety.

Overall if this artist impression is any guide this might be good for F1 in understanding how to improve overtaking opportunities with needing KERS/ERS/DRS. By having high torque and relatively low power from the electric motors there's an increased chance of errors from drivers as they have a larger accelerator modulation task. The venturis have been regularly speculated as a way of improving the ability for one F1 car to follow another. The confounding problem is that the driver standard is unlikely to be that close to F1 quality, so assessing better racing can be difficult.




Zero emission vehicles are they? What a farce! Perhaps the cars don't have emissions, but certainly the power stations producing the electricity do.

How can anyone take this seriously?


You are right on the money 🙂

That slightly awkward fact always seems to be glossed over by the proponents of so called green energy.


I'm with you on this. I don't object to electric cars, but call them what they are, electric, alternative energy etc. What they are not, are green or zero emission.

Unfortunately the 'green' angle has become an essential marketing tool and very few people seem to question the reality.


Yes they do, this is about well to wheel efficiency and even using 100% electricity from coal alone, net emissions are lower than direct conversion of hydro carbons in conventional ICE's.


If prices are reasonable, I'll go to the race in my city. I like the idea of a new series very much and initial news place the circuit in walking distance from my home.

I'm not really a fan of the car swapping though. But let's see how it goes. I'm keeping an open mind.


Thinking about it, being a new series I doubt it will be too expensive, as people won't want to pay loads as they won't know what they are getting, and also, they will need to get it off the ground some way or another.


I will be going to see for sure. Particularly if they manage to employ the drivers listed above.

We are living in New York at the moment (going to my first Canadian Grand Prix in June!!) but have a flat in Hackney so wouldn't miss something like this right on my doorstep.

I also missed the Olympics so am excited to see the finished Olypic park.


'Olympic' of course

Think I need new batteries in my keyboard!


I thought the whole point of this series was to showcase new electric tech to the world as a viable alternative to combustion engines.. where does this idea come from then to change cars halfway through a race!? Surely this will just damage electric's image further if the casual viewer see's that one of these things can't last an hour.. I don't think it matters how good the cars will look if the drivers has to jump out of it half way through a race, I mean will the they have to find an available charging point round the track before changing over??

As Richard says above, a replacement battery would be much better in the short term if they can't last the distance

Craig in Manila


It definitely implies to the casual, non-tech viewers that electric cars only "work" if you can afford two of them : one in-use and one on-charge.

Maybe that's the intention.... I'm sure the manafacturers would be happy if we all thought that we had to buy two cars instead of just one !


They change cars twice, not once. 20 minutes appears to be the maximum duration.


Looks like quiet racing in the years to come. Like the proposed drawings though, feels sic-fi. As long as the speed is there or even faster I can and have to live with it. The F1 turbo series was just low hummings but the speed was something to reckon with.


It would be much more interesting and different to use a car like the (Nissan) deltawing. The design currently looks like any other formula car. Boring!


The success of this proposed formula depends on which F1 teams get involved and if Bernie wants to put his considerable weight behind it.

If you look back at other World Championships, if they ever got to the point of threatening the colossus of F1, Bernie and the FIA took away television rights and effectively killed off the series. Group C, World Rally and Truck racing were all gaining massive popularity but being starved of Quality TV coverage and subsequent rule changes ended their threat.

Just a few years ago, bernie wanted Valentino Rossi in F1 because he saw MotoGP gaining massive viewing figures because of him and Bernie couldn't do anything about it.

People gave mentioned 'sound' as being important. Bear in mind, Mercedes and Renault have both gone on record saying the V6's will still be noisy, so I'd guess this is fundamental in Motorsport.


On a more serious note...To answer the question re sketch design, I personally like most of it. Low profile tyres would be good, and a lower nose. It's too high for my liking. Also the rear wing curving down at the back removes the aggressive nature of the rest of the car, giving it a bit of a feminine look. That has to go.

I like the double winglets on the side, and the curved aero in front of each wheel is different, but I could deal with that.

Interesting comment earlier re the air intakes...Could it work without them? If so, removing those opens up a whole new range of looks for the car.


I think the 'winglets' are actually for side impact crash protection. My understanding is the the rules are free and teams are invited to build their own cars. I think the design shown is too derivative from petrol powered cars, with side pods that probably aren't needed, etc. There certainly could be more interesting designs. My immediate reaction was for to think of the Ralt F3 cars from the 90's (I think) with only one sidepod radiator and a crash structure on the other side. If this series actually goes ahead I hope there is some thoughtful design work done, as opposed to copying current formula cars.


another goffy design from dallara, looks like those indy cars they run now, just horrid...just sayin'


One Question: Why Dallara?

Why not someone else? Not one other manufacturer is interested? Is this a sign of disinterest?

Adrian Setterfield

Hi James,

Couple of things I've noticed about the preliminary drawings.

The first is that the design looks like it won't generate a lot of downforce (wing angles etc) and that the aerodynamic focus will be on reducing drag (wheel farings). It actually looks like the front wing is solely on the car to have something to hang the front wheel farings from.

The second is, why does the car have sidepods? I understand that there will be cooling requirements but electric motors can be deployed in different configurations as could the cooling systems. The entire car could be packaged in a very different way and create a more slim-lined design. Eliminating the sidepods would reduce drag significantly. I had something more like a formula ford in mind...

They are different drawings (rear view mirrors missing, wheel diameters different etc.) and may simply be a couple of examples of how the new car may be designed. James, how firm are these drawings?



"The host cities are London, Rome, Los Angeles, Miami, Beijing, Putrajaya (Malaysia), Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. The London event will be particularly exciting as it is believed to be based around the Olympic Park in Stratford."

I don't exactly understand why the London one is 'particularly exciting' and 'a highlight' vs the other (equally exciting sounding) locations?

Why does the Olympic Park location help there, it is not exactly an exciting area of London when the Olympics are not on. Are the other locations going to be in less exciting parts of the city?


Do you think Whitechapel could be a more exciting location?

Or Bond Street. Maybe we could get Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss as guest commentators.


I'm not crazy about the swapping cars bit. It kind of highlights one of the shortcomings of the technology. But still interested how it will all work out.


Why don't we ask Gordon Murray? He has extensive knowledge of electric cars and has ties with McLaren.

It'd be great if the Formula E cars would follow the mantra of Formula 1 cars: Form follows Speed. I am curious how they would shape up against the hybrid F1 cars.

But please, don't make them look like F1 cars just for the sake of it. Formula E is not a cartoon version of F1.

I am actually very much looking forward to this:

1. It would be great to see Jaimie, Heikki and Michael Schumacher back!

2. Instead of adding sound, they could amplify the wind sound from the aerodynamics. Now, that would be cool … pure poetry.


I am excited & hope it does well so that talented F1 drivers who don't have money to bring to their F1 teams can race here like Heikki, Koba, Glock,...


i would love to go and watch formula e live and follow it on tv especially if they have great drivers like glock and co who've recently dropped out of f1 or the gp2 champions who failed to make it into f1. tt's the racing which stimulates my senses albeit i was blown away by the sound of the f1 v8 when i first experienced it and am still blown away by it.

i like the idea of swapping cars so long as they are of the same livery, it wouldn't differ much from pit stops so long as the racing is long and close enough enough. i don't think the cars will be silent because i have watched road cars pass by at over 70mph and couldn't hear the engines due to the tyre raw and wind noise. but the idea of adding sound effects is a good idea.

my only concern is, is it safe for the drivers to be sat so close to extremely high energy batteries for so long? after all car manufacturers go to lengths to place the 12v car battery as far away from the driver as possible to avoid interfering with their organic electrical systems. unless the driver can be isolated in a faraday's cage. in that case, they'll need yo redesign the cars. the batteries and electronics will also need a lot of cooling.

if they get it right, it could rival f1 because so long as they make it more accessible to fans.


I'm a big fan of the Formula E concept.

I hate the car in the drawings. To be honest it's exactly what I'd expect from Dallara. It looks like one of their hideous Indycars, worse even than the HRT.

Newey could design something better on his lunch break. The car should be modeled on the Red Bull X1 and should be free of any aero restrictions.

I still think the car swapping sounds awful too. What's wrong with a sprint race and a feature race?


If it's on the FTA telly I will definitely watch it but...

A fundamental issue has been sidestepped here or at least the wrong decision made.

The battery should be changed not the car. In discussions on other EV forums like the sadly missed "Charging point" to which JA used to contribute, the question of swapping batteries was often mentioned as the solution which would make EVs viable for normal business use in the UK. To have a major race series as the driving force in development of this would have been ideal.

It was anticipated that batteries would be changed from below with the car driven over an automatic jig which would unlock and lower the old battery then a new or re-charged one would replace it. For racing it would be better to move the car over a 2 station jig with the first dropping the old battery and the car then pushed forward over the new one. Racing could have been the test-bed for all sorts of ideas, standardisation, and in overcoming problems, a major benefit to the mainstream car industry. It could still be "driver out" during a battery change.

Now it may be that battery technology will develop to such a degree that changing either cars or batteries is not required. But the development and industrialisation of technology moves at a relative snail's pace in contrast to the ideas end.

Graphene is the key to the future of batteries, but we have to build them without using rare earth metals. Our current obsession with emissions has caused huge pollution and energy usage with platinum being shipped round the world and then spat out on to our roads.


To get great sounding cars, I think they should adopt a trick every kid did with their bikes: Clothes peg holding bit of card brushing the spokes of the wheel.

The faster the cars are going, the higher pitch the sound.

The really flash cars would have this device on each wheel - quadrophonic style!


Yawn, and to make it even less interesting the concept sketches look like the wolf ugly Indy cars. Guess they better market to a new audience cause they don't have my old butt interested at all.


I really like the idea and I think eventually F1 will be electric, but I think this is too soon. Switching cars mid race whilst charging up the first car sounds a bit daft and only highlights electric cars failings, rather than promote them. For my money they either need to have short races with one car or wait till they get batteries that last long enough. But good luck to them, I'll still watch.


As long as they are swapping cars during the race, they should go all out and use the old Le Mans-style start. The drivers would run to their cars to start the race.

George Debenham

Perhaps the support races will feature mobility scooters with ex racing champs driving them.

vuelve kowalsky

this championship at this particular point in time it's making me sick. I don't know how i will see it in 20 years time. I hope it's the same, otherwise it would mean i am dead.


I thought the same, should be a support series. But on further consideration, the inner city setting is an integral part of the concept. Speeds will be less, and ideally aero will be of minor concern. Thus it could be a series with real validity to R&D of new tech, as opposed to current f1 which has virtually none.

I could give a monkeys rear how they look, as long as they're as fast as they can be designed to be.

There is a huge pool of driving talent available, the series could develop the prestige (of that sort) that goes with Prius ownership, and 'carbon credits', and cities might just vie for the honor.

BUT, changing cars IS fairly ludicrous, and in lieu of rapid charge (paint drying), battery packs must be designed to be pit changeable, in race.

Yes, I am skeptical. But with some imagination, I can not only seeit, I can see it being novel and interesting.

For now, I'll take my 12c and f1, but don't want to be too future-averse.


They look like the cars last used in the now defunct A1GP. I knew they would turn up somewhere. I guess recycling is a good practice too.


A noiseless car race? I'll pass.


It is a great idea and I really hope it works. The circuit line up is certainly a step in the right direction.

It would be great if a few of the F1 teams would link up with the new teams to offer the series a bit of legitimacy like they do with GP2.

Even the most casual of F1 fan is now aware that the majority of the grid is made up of those with big wallets. Indy Car in no longer a viable alternative and with so many well know drivers out of a seat it would be great to see names like Senna and Kobayashi back on our screen racing a in a good single seater series.

Throw in a few of those who have good GP2 records but lack finance and you have the making of a good series. I like that there are so many rookies this year but we have lost quite a few good benchmarks. Formula E could be the bridge between GP2 and F1.



are their races going to run on different weekends to F1? Or will they avoid clashes by scheduling the races at times that are different to F1?


So. The electricity they use was generated in a coal fired power station 50 miles away, and they look and sound like giant Scalextric. A huge non-event, except for the frothy brained who somehow think this is green


It's a starting point. I will definitely watch the London race. Very exciting indeed.


I *really* like the idea of Formula E. I don't know why people think the cars will be silent.

150mph wind isn't particularly quiet, neither is the sound of 4 tortured rubber contact patches, at race speeds these things will have their own unique sound.

I hope they also take the broadcasting rights into the 21st century as well. Imagine the viewing figures you'd get if this was broadcast via youtube, rather than the soon to be anachronistic TV companies.

Also I think that the idea here is that a futuristic race series that doesn't use petrol engines will push development of Electric and associated technology and as a result 20 years down the line we'll be driving vehicles that use tech that evolved from this. Yes the shipping teams around the globe is going to use a lot of jet fuel, yes the "carbon footprint" of these teams will be immense, it's not supposed to be the "Green" way to race. It's supposed to be an effing cool new race series that will attract a new generation of engineers. Necessity is the mother of invention, and if your team NEEDS to develop a new way of going faster, then who knows what might be discovered along the way.


I would like to see a more radical and futuristic design. If they almost literally copied the Adrian Newey future F1 car design I would be happy.

James, which batteries are they proposing to use? Hopefully they are going for a safe chemistry.

I would much prefer them to swap the batteries during a pit stop. I assume they didn't want to do that because they thought it might be dangerous. If they had a concern like that then they could have done slow pit stops where they had a set time they had to stay in the pits once they came in.

I wonder if they considered using Lithium Titanate batteries. They have lowish energy density, but are very safe and can be charged very quickly. I suppose a 5 minute recharge might be even too slow for a race.


You might be on to something there with the Newey design - it's certainly better than the 'me-too' type layout in the visual. If these cars are to overcome the handicaps of inadequate range and concerns about inadequate noise, they need to be visually very different. Look at the excitement that the Delta Wing design created. But would Dallara take the risk? They haven't stayed in business this long by being radical.


I'm in two minds. It certainly looks interesting as most open wheel race cars do, but it neither does it really push the envelope like I think it should. If they don't have an internal combustion engine and associated systems and hardware, why not try something radically different ie not being restrained to the same basic shape and compromises as a car with an ICE?


I'm looking forward to seeing how this works out. Certainly, if I get a chance to go to the London event I would do so, as I think it could make for a very interesting spectacle. I get the feeling that perhaps too much is made of the noise aspect in motor racing nowadays - personally, I'd much prefer to watch some interesting racing if it came to a choice between the two.

Also, for those who think this will somehow lead to a quiet car I would recommend you try driving an electric go-kart some time. You'll find out pretty quickly it's anything but noise-free...


aahh.... yawn. I would rather watch a dodgem car race. Lenoir would be rolling in his grave...

Craig in Manila

Now, if they could just incorporate the batteries into the wheels then they could pit to change tyres and, voila, the four batteries are changed at the same time.

Now, how do I register that idea so I can make some money out of it ?


Too late, Bernie just did...


It amuses me that this is supposed to convince people that an electric car is a viable alternative, but the having to change cars kind of defeats that objective.

I'm a bit surprised not to see a canopy or similar. If there really is a move to introduce these to F1 I would have expected to see something here — it's much easier to introduce something from the start than add it later.

All that said, my initial skepticism has abated and I'm quite keen to go and see a race. It will be great to see cars racing around some beautiful cities.


Interesting, but from a marketing and public perception point of view, the 'pitstop' idea will simply reinforce the percpetion that electric cars are not practical alternatives to an internal combustion engine.


I for one am very excited by the prospect of this and will be buying a London ticket, as soon as it becomes available 🙂


So, how does one fully recharge a batter with 'zero emissions'? Seems a bit of a misnomer to me.


You're totally missing the point.

It's to start a new e series which can push the technology, wider understanding and acceptance of electric vehicles.

Do you expect them to run on wheat grass and transport all the cars to each race via horse and cart?

I'm tired of people saying electric cars aren't green or zero emission because the electricity has to be generated somewhere else.

The cars themselves are zero emission- that's the first important step. The second step is to address each countries power generation as a separate issue. That's for governments to sort out, not the car companies.


I don't put much significance on these drawings...they just look like a doodle of a single seater with wheel covers. At this stage, I doubt engineers could understand enough about the aerodynamic and air intake specifics until they have a working model.

I hope they look much different, otherwise they will be too similar to the go-kart-like shells we see in Indycar and lower formulas.

Stone the crows

In order to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible I suggest we enlist the services of Nick Wirth to design this Formula E car totally with CFD, that way we won't waste any precious resources to power windtunnels. The future is now! I know it can be done, oh wait, yeah Nick Wirth... never mind.

Seriously though, what I see is another attempt to "greenwash" the FiA/FOM. As far as we Formula One fans should be concerned its a good thing because it deflects scrutiny away from our favorite motorsports and allows the powers that be to say 'see we care about the enviornment too,' without inflicting more superfluous nonsense on an already over spending series.

It's a win-win for the FiA, if it does well, they're heroes, if it doesn't do well then they're hero's for trying and won't take any heat for a flop, for when it comes to enviornmentalism good intentions matter most I'm afraid to say.

As for this as a genuine motorsport, I have my doubts. I have no objections to racing electric cars or cars powered by sails or rubber bands for that matter, but I wonder about a series that is concieved entirely on paper and then put into action, rather than the way most popular motorsports have sprung up, which is through a couple mates trying to see whose fastest, and eventually it turned into a race and then from one race to several races, and finally organized into a series.

This Formula E is all more than a bit contrived, and we've seen how contrived series do in the contemporary context anyone remember A1GP? How about Superleague Formula? What happened to them? The drives were good, the cars were fine, but they were always a bit superfluous, and behind the scenes a managerial house of cards.

All I can say is 'good luck with that' to the people involved, but don't be surprised if you're looking for employment few years from now and the promoters are no where to be found.

tom in adelaide

This car swapping business is madness. It's a E series and the best solution is to build two complete cars?


Zero Emissions? Where does the juice come from to [re-]charge the battery packs - damn great power station on the National Grid.

There's no such thing as zero emissions!

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