Is Formula E about to take off? Nissan enters series as governments get tough on emissions
Innovation
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Oct 2017   |  10:15 am GMT  |  181 comments

A lot is happening quickly in the world of Formula E, with news that Nissan is to replace its sister brand Renault as an entrant in the zero emissions racing series.

At the same time we are seeing the mayors of many of Europe’s leading cities uniting to get tough on petrol and diesel cars. London has this week introduced a T Zone (T for Toxicity) with heavy tariffs on diesel cars entering the centre and a pledge to ban diesel and petrol cars altogether in the next few years.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan argues that pollutants from vehicles are collectively estimated to cause around 9,400 equivalent deaths every year in Greater London and impose an economic cost between £1.4bn and £3.7bn a year.

Berlin, Paris, Los Angeles and many other cities are also getting tough in what feels like a tipping point for the electric vehicle.

For Formula E it feels like everything is finally coming towards it; the new battery that will last an entire race is due to come on stream in Season V (Autumn 2018) and many of the leading manufacturers are piling in now, with Jaguar, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes and Nissan all committed to Season V.

With that will come investment, promotion and the tide will rise taking the series up. Thus far it has garnered admirers and has done quite well on the business to business angle, which is an important part of professional motorsport series today. But it has struggled to attract fans and arouse passions.

But that could change if the series becomes more high profile and attracts bigger name drivers.

All of this will not go unnoticed with Liberty Media and Formula 1, which is due to unveil its proposals for the new engine formula post 2021 next week. We will post on that separately

However there are threats too.

As the series matures and the manufacturers come in there is a risk that, if tight rein is not kept on the regulation of the series, they will escalate an arms race, as we saw in F1 in the mid 2000s, which would spoil it.

Even at the recent Formula E pre-season test there was evidence of Audi and Porsche starting to flex their muscles and there are rumours of the German manufacturers starting to get together to vote tactically on the regulations in the future. The Formula E organisers and the FIA will have to stay very much on top of that.

The test showed that the pecking order going into this next season appears to be Audi then Renault and Mahindra, who have done a superb job to get to that level, then Virgin, Techeetah, NextEv then Jaguar, Dragon and Venturi.


Nissan replaces Renault for Season V

At the end of the coming Season IV Renault will exit and its sister brand Nissan will enter, becoming the first Japanese OEM to race in Formula E. Nissan has been a pioneer in roadgoing EVS with the Leaf being one of the first EVs on the market.

“As a pioneer in EV, we have learned a tremendous amount about high-performance electric vehicles and energy management that directly benefits our EV customers. After Season 4 we will focus resources on our aggressive goals for Formula 1 and we look forward to continuing to gain benefits from motorsport racing across the Alliance with Nissan, ” said Renaut’s Thierry Koskas.

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag welcomed the latest new manufacturer into his series: “Japan is a country at the forefront of new technologies with one of the biggest followings of Formula E. The shift towards sustainable mobility is in motion and it’s unstoppable. I look forward to seeing the Nissan logo adorned on the new-look cars for season five.”

What do you make of this latest development? Is Formula E getting on your radar now? Leave your comments in the section below

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181 comments

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1

Zero emissions. Nope.
They have to make these cars and then transport them and the team's.
All done with fossil fuels.

2

You're missing important point. Take into consideration, the energy production trends from last 5 years. Coal usage decreased significantly. Solar and Wind usage is multiplying yearly. By the time, renewable energy becomes a majority, electric engines should be adapted to take advantage of it.

3

Not to mention that batteries do not grow in organic green fields either..

Hypocritical posturing, feeding the opportune, not saving the environment.

4

James, a question from a wider perspective:

Other, not so widely publicized, sources have suggested that while there are zero omissions of a petrol nature from electric cars, they omit ozone among others. Possibly they don't get much press because of the "PC" approach these days, hard to say. Those sources also suggest that the actual ecological "footprint" (carbon and otherwise) is simply being transferred to other locations for such activities as generating the electricity used to charge the batteries, manufacturing and disposal of the batteries and so forth.

Have queried an engineer friend who works in the industry building petrol, hybrid and electric vehicles has basically shared the same views.

Any substance to those perspectives ?

5

Other, not so widely publicized, sources...

Nothing is for nothing that's for absolute sure, and the batteries which power electric cars are not made from the morning dew on the flowers in the meadow.

6

Says they guy who apparently drives a NA V8...and keeps telling us that PUs are the bee's knees.

9

I hadn't seen those, thanks Sebee. Did it take 35 fire fighters eight hours to extinguish those blazes?

10

Thanks for that - hadn't seen it. What on earth was a 19 year old doing in a car like that? I cannot imagine it was his, so presumably someone had let him borrow it. Why not let him take the 911 instead - what could possibly go wrong?

11

C63, maybe his parents were daft enough to think he wouldn't get into much trouble in his glorified milk float.....

12

interesting point. however, while generating electricity for batteries, manufacturing of said batteries and other manufacturing elements still consume energy and are not zero emission yet, the emissions from a fossi fuel engine is very significant, and electric vehicles are a sure improvement on that. emissions from cars and vehicles are considered the single biggest source of carbon dioxide into the environment. this s AFTER considering the emissions involved in manufacturing .
also, electric vehicles are surely the way to go because it puts the carbon footprint onus on the source ofelectricity itself, that is easier to regulate and improve, with lesser reliance on fossil fuels and more dependancy on clean energy sources (which is the direction in which the world is slowly but surely heading), it will be easier to reduce carbon footprint there as well. so electric vehicles help us cut carbon on both ends.
batteries are still a stumbling block, but a lesser one, and one that will surely be focused on in the future .

13

power stations, ships and aeroplanes produce more carbon dioxide than cars.
they are trying to lie to well informed people. how will that work?
people buy cars because they enjoy them. natural..

14

The electric cars themselves do not emit anything, the question is how the energy is generated to charge the batteries. For Formula E, they use a generator that uses glycerine. This process is free of bad emission and was used to illustrate that it is possible to have be pollution free when it comes to the race-cars. Of course, the whole moving-circus and production aspects of materials is not...
One aspect of electric cars though is that they tend to emit more fine particle matter. Most fine particle matter comes from the road/tires and the brake disks. As electric cars are heavier, there is more impact on the contact surfaces (road/tires) but also on the brake disks when braking (regenerative braking helps a bit in this aspect as then the brake disks are not used).

15

electric cars emit pollutants not only from worn moving parts but also from the batteries.
climate change has nothing to do with human carbon dioxide production.

16

Why are electric cars heavier? Is it all the weight of the battery? I had just assumed they were lighter because they had no heavy engine.

17

Guess where you will see electric trucks first? Yup, they will want the exposure...whoever has one first.

18

@ Garrett Bruce:
Your observations are common knowledge within the automotive industry circles.
The BIG elephant in the room that very few outside the automotive engineering community dare mention is where and how the electricity that will power our e-cars in future will be produced.
One notes that China is opening up coal power stations like there is no tomorrow . . .
Is the overall carbon footprint of an e-car whose electricity comes out of a coal power station lower than that of a state of the art petrol driven car's ?
Answers in a postcard but the "the future is electric" armada will not like them.
The future may very well be electric anyway (marketing and public opinion) but if it is to have an impact on pollution it needs to be thought through the complete chain and at the moment no government and no industry is interested in risking doing that.

The other, smaller, but still not insubstantial elephant in the room is, what do you do with the batteries once they have reached the end of their useful lives ?

Where does the electricity come from ?
What does the battery "afterlife" look like ?
How do you build the necessary infrastructure to charge all those e-vehicles ?

Those are the real questions.
All of the above can be solved, humans are truly amazing, but we are not really solving any of it at the moment.

Food for thought

19

what the long term effects of being exposed to electric fields for prolonged periods?

20

Where is all the lithium to power all these billions of electric cars, and other electronic devices, going to come from? Is there an endless supply of the stuff? Is there even enough to power 1 billion cars? Is the price of lithium going to increase as the demand increases? Will the average person even be able to afford a car if it becomes mandatory that it has to be electric?

Those are the other big fat elephants in the room that I don't hear anybody discussing in their blind quest to turn cars into battery-powered washing machines.

21

While the electricity has to be produced somewhere,inch better that it is produced in a centralized plant where pollution can be minimized and technology can be used to minimize it than have millions of engines running around, all with varying degrees of efficiency and issues with leaking fluids, etc. I am a farmer, and have more gas and Diesel engines in my possession than I can easily count. Every Single One of them is a potential source of not only pollution, but oil leaks, hydraulic leaks, coolant leaks, etc. Ever changed your oil yourself? Wonder what happens to the oil filter afterwards? The fact is these gas and Diesel engines are completely dirty and unsafe for the environment and people. I embrace the time when they're gone for good, even if it means the same amount of pollution produced in a centralized location where it can be controlled and dealt with in a logical manner. I don't believe for a second that there would be as much pollution with electric cars, but even if there was the advantages are obvious.

22

This is not about what's good for the environment. Never has been. This is about what's good for people like Al Gore and other peddlers of this unsustainable Eco-tech nonsense.

This is simply a matter of the all mighty dollar. The peddlers of Eco-tech can see a massive market that is currently being owned by the fossil fuel industry, and they want a slice of it. Actually they want all of it.

Al Gore was recently in Australia leaving a devastating carbon footprint in his wake while spouting the same lies he did in his "An Inconvient Truth" propaganda film, without any disclaimer informing people that it's all unsubstantiated nonsense (he was ordered by the British high court to include such a disclaimer ) all in an attempt to sell his overpriced and unrealiable "green tech".

And indeed, your sources are most certainly correct. Electric cars are most definitely no better for the environment than dinosaur-powered cars. In fact there is mounting evidence that they could in fact be worse.

23

@ LukeC great post. I agree with you 100%.

24

If you centralize emissions, you can capture efficiently. Or you can upgrade generation to reduce or eliminate emissions.

People who bring up shifting of emissions tend to not consider that generation will evolve along with electric car adoption rates. So will the power grid.

25

why capture emissions?
increased carbon dioxide content in the air increase the rate of photosynthesis. climate change is a natural evolution of the earth and physical geography clearly lays out wind currents without atmospheric barriers.

26

CO2 isn't the concern. It's all the other crap spewing from the tail pipes. All those fine particulates, which cut our lives short and cause asthma.

27

most particulates are from diesel engines. the rise in number of diesel cars has seen particulates in the air rise but i can assure you that all the particulates are cleared by rain anyway so what is the real problem with petrol engines?

28

You can capture it more efficiently. The rich can also give some of their money to the poor, and corporations can pay their employees 10 times what they're currently paying them. It's all possible in theory, but will it happen? The answer is a resounding "no".

Same with discarded car batteries. Yes, we can recycle them while ceremonially paying homage to Mother Earth. But will they recycle all those batteries once there is a mountain of that stuff leaking their toxins all over the place? Probably not.

29

Molten salt reactors will do this by design.

There isn't enough lithium for us to not recycle batteries. Recycling will not be optional.

30

#Sebee
Agreed. There will be a fundamental shortage of lithium if battery design or technology isn’t improved.

31

There was an article about this today. Apparently, with all the above points you've raised, they represent a drop of around 50% in terms of greenhouse emissions.

32

So these PUS that save fuel but add 100kg of car weight...those don't have all those hybrid bits made and these heavier cars and all support hardware don't need to be transported by jets around the world? #fakefuelsavings

33

power units are about technological advancement and efficiency. meaning more miles per gallon of fuel burnt.

34

No aveli, they are not.

They are about trying to make F1 look high tech.

35

engineers have tried to improve the efficiency of the internal combustion engine ever since it was invented so why are improvements on efficiency not so important all of a sudden.
the electric car was invented before internal combustion engined cars by the way. its taken over 120 years to get 1% market share in the car trade and yet hybrid has 2% share in 10 years.

36

Yeah I feel cars might need to be all electric if it's just for city driving. Hybrids to me are a stop gap. Range and infrastructure is a huge problem in the US where the distance between cities are far. Even in Europe you need tractor trailers to move goods. I don't see a battery powered vehicle doing that.

But hey everyone is getting into Fe. Mahindra? Isn't that a company from India that makes tractors?

37

Yes. Mahindra makes Tractors, Cars, Trucks, Motorcyles, Software, Hotels, Mutual Funs, You get the idea.
Well, Mahindra was the last manufacturer of Electric Vehicles in the world for quite some time. They do have a Factory Moto GP Team, On the road for a Factory Dakar Team. SO, not entirely surprising that they are winning races in Formula E

38

hybrid is the most logical way in improving efficiency. city dwellers enjoy a higher life expectancy than their rural neibours so why focus on increasing their life expectancy further while their neibours remain at that low point?
show me the logic..

40

FE will definitely get these once available.

41

I can’t watch it. The sound is like nails down a blackboard. It’s like a load of bees flying around inside your skull.

42

I have tried to watch FE and would love to see it succeed. Some of the drivers are better than you’d find in F1.

The reason I don’t enjoy FE is because the tracks are awful! Remember the London track - so narrow it was almost as exciting as watching the traffic driving anywhere else in the capital? I’m not against street tracks but FE needs to race on tracks that create excitement in fans in the same way that Spa Silverstone Monza Monaco do.

Also - I’m worried that the battery lasting a whole race might be a bad move. Because of the poorly designed street tracks making racing impossible, often the only exciting moment is when the FE cars are managing their batteries and start coming into the pits. FE would be a procession without any pit stops!

43

racing is about speed and they lack speed so what’s the attraction?

44

The reason they won't let them race on traditional circuits is because it will expose how painfully slow the cars are.

45

They will only get faster.

Once they have the single battery car, you think they can attempt some track lap times? I think so.

46

ICE-powered cars are already faster, much faster, and have been for over 100 years now. Why isn't anyone making a big deal about that?

47

I agree completely, I do not understand why organizers like street circuits, a high metal barrier looks the same in London as it does in New York as any other city. The circuits are the reason I don't watch it.

48

The tracks have to be "awful", they have to be short in total length, with no long straights, hills or high speed corners. All of the track layouts that consume battery power simply can not be used. It's back the front engineering, the battery life determines the track layout. For example going up the hill at Spa would drain the battery in a couple of laps.

49

going up the hill at Spa.....

They can’t even manage the hills at Monaco, let alone Spa.

50

Ok, understand all the big name manufacturers are looking into FE rather than F1. Obviously, the cost is much lower and having a lot of ex F1 drivers help. I watch a fair bit of the FE races and it’s surprisingly pretty entertaining. There are 10 things I don’t like about FE, which is pretty much similar to F1. However, I don’t think any fan will miss FE if it disappears suddenly. How’s the rating looking? Good enough for the sport to grow?

51

Formula E is not for me - no aural appeal, no speed and inner city tracks are pretty much always terrible. Fan boost is the worst idea ever. It's also impossible to follow the random scheduling. And if any motor sport should run fta, surely it's one that's getting to get itself established. Some of these issues may be solved but others are unlikely to be resolved given the direction of formula email. As a stand alone series it's got a long way to travel and it's not on my radar. As a support race for F1 however, I'd watch.

52

Oh the irony of electric vehicles reducing emissions..................

Having just comeback from a break in the rugby heartland of Toulon/Rhone Valley/Cannes to check out the Paul Ricard circuit (I'm thinking of going to next years race) and to squeeze the very last bit of warmth from the Northern Hemisphere before the heat of summer departs for Interlagos and Kyalami, I couldn't help but notice sitting quayside in Nice and Toulon, huge quantities of coal were being shipped in from Australia and South Africa to power France's power stations, which of course powers electric cars....................!!!! And the same for nearby Spain, Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, Greece.........

So, in other words, all electric cars are doing are swapping diesel/petrol propulsion for coal propulsion? And considering the sooty, dirty coal is being imported from the Southern Hemisphere, can you imagine the carbon footprint of a massive tanker full of coal pootling from Durban to Toulon???????

I'm not against electric cars per se, but there does seem to be a massive hypocrisy of punishing directly hydrocarbon powered cars in favour of indirectly hydrocarbon powered cars!

53

Gazboy, I am sorry but that is simply not true with regards to France and their power sources/use of coal from Australia or shipping in to Nice and Toulon. They don't even have the facilities there to handle coal in any large quantity. And if you have been in the Rhone Valley as you say, you must have noticed this is the heartland of their nuclear power plants. France is the world-leading country in nuclear energy and has been that for many many years. They are also the owners of the global energy giants Areva, EDF (the worlds #1 utility company) and GDF Suez, all specializing in nuclear. Nuclear power represents around 80% of the country's electricity production, up from only 8% in 1973, 24% in 1980, and 75% in 1990. Due to its heavy investment in nuclear power, France is the smallest emitter of carbon dioxide among the seven most industrialized countries in the world.
Sorry on public wiki you only have the industry numbers from 2006, but here we go:
Of the 548.8 TWh electricity generated in France 78% were produced by nuclear power, 11.1%)were produced by hydroelectric power and just 9.5% were produced by fossil-fuel. And hereof only 3.9% by coal.
And with focus on that very little import of any coal to France (they are exporting electricity because they have always too much of it!) then you are also wrong on source and destinations: The small amounts of coal being imported to France comes primary from South Africa and secondarily from Russia. And this is through what in coal shipping terms are called the ARA Ports (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp). And a minor portion through France's own north sea ports. If you are interested in the subject, suggest you read the book: "Economics of the International Coal Trade: Why Coal Continues to Power the World" by Lars Schernikau.

Per JA's question to us all: "Is Formula E about to take off?"
The answer is: "It has already!"

54

I would say that Gaz Boy has been rather cruelly exposed!!!! or so it wouls seem.

55

A lot of power is currently generated by coal, but that is changing as renewable energy generation becomes more and more efficient.

But even if power is generated by burning coal, oil or gas, power stations are far more efficient at generating power than an internal combustion engine, so less fuel is burned overall

56

You surely know that fuel isn't extracted on France soil either, and that about 75% of France's electricity production is currently from nuclear power plants.

57

Serious question - would you prefer to have a nuclear power plant at the bottom of your garden or a fossil fuelled one?

58

That may be true but surely one key objective is reducing/displacing pollution in cities and improving the health of people who live in them. For example, it's clear that in the years to come cycling in London will for surely be nicer!

Also, it's more efficient to produce electricity in mass at power stations then burn it up in tiny units in the ICEs of cars. And while much of that electricity will still come from fossil sources (even if coal), increasing proportions of it will come from renewable means.

It's all about incremental progress. There may be some hyprocrisy now, but you can't just get to the desired solution in one leap.

One can imagine the horse and cart industry scoffing at the efforts of the first automobile inventions. That didn't mean those inventors weren't on the right track and should pack it in.

59

That's a very insular view. Great for the cities, but what about the country dwellers who live close to coal fired generating stations, especially all the new ones that will need to be created in order to triple the UK's power consumption. It is just shifting the problem to someone else's back garden. Maybe Battersea should be brought back online, and couple more throughout London. Then the city dwellers would realise how nonsensical it really is.

60

The damage of particulates from road vehicles in busy street traffic in close proximity to pedestrians and the like is not really comparable to power station chimneys that send their pollution high into the sky, which damages the environment on a more global level. I'm not saying it's good but it's a different issue compared to the poor air quality health issue we hear a lot about on the news.

But also, why all this talk of coal being the only power source that the country is going to be inundated in? Renewable sources of power combined with mass battery storage silos will only improve through lowering costs and supply and demand making them more viable business prospects.

Also, the refineries that produce petrol/gasoline and the transportation of it all requires energy, which could come from the nasty coal plants. So it's not a free lunch and electric cars are / will be more efficient uses of energy.

In a rare case of agreement, I'm with Sebee on this one! 🙂

61

Why ban diesel cars when diesel trucks and busses produce many many times the pollutants. Diesel cars are improving their emissions with every new model, trucks and busses are decades behind.

62

They are improving their claimed levels of emissions, but as independent tests are now showing, all they've really improved is how to game the certification tests.

63

Agreed. I fail to see how folks keep harping on the fact that it needs planes and its manufacturing is not helping to reduce emissions when this is a technology in transition and still being developed. Surely you have to start somewhere and have an end goal and it will take some time to get there. Makes me want to pull my hair out when I hear these pointless arguments. lucky i am bald.

64

A lot of renewable energy generation will come online as electric car fleet share grows.

Look up molten salt reactors. Look up new battery storage systems for solar. Look at wind. Look at batteries, able to handle 500,000 charge cycles coming soon as well.

Future is electric. No doubt about it now.

65

"Future is electric. No doubt about it now."

Do you realise that you've repeated this mantra about 20 times now? It reminds me of religious people who repeat mantras constantly in order to strengthen their faith.

It seems that you have more doubts about this than you probably even consciously realise. Which is good, because I think any reasonable, logically-thinking person, would have doubts about the whole world magically going electric, given that ev sales have stalled at just over 1% of total worldwide car sales.

66

“All religion is a foolish answer to a foolish question.” Peaky Blinders.

Electrons on the other hand are science, and without doubt the future Luke! All these claim about gasoline fuel efficiency, what is the efficiency of electrons? It's just our current technology that is limiting us. But after 2020, when molten salt designs are finalized world changes. It will be amazing!

67

Gasoline has electrons too. And it's electrons in gasoline form that currently pack the biggest punch, and I predict that this will still be the case in 2020 and beyond.

68

Regarding renawable energy... I spoke with few of my friends working with electric energy (transportation mainly). They all agree all renewable sources are problematic as most of them are not available on demand. I can't stress enough that this is a major problem.

Another issue with lots of generators (consider every separate source is a generator - like each wind turbine is a generator) is synchronization. AC power has very strict frequency deviation requirement (much narrower than voltage tolerance), so there is a problem maintaing that with large numbers of generators all working on their own.

Then, there is problem of demand and supply. Imagine if suddenly there is increase in power demand by say 80%? Think about impact on the grid. Also can you honestly say renewable sources will provide all the power currently generated by fossil (and nuclear) fuels, plus addiotional demand? I mean in some reasonable time scale (say 10-20 years)? If there is no dramatic increase, I would assume most of the electric power will still come by means of either nuclear or fossil fuels. In which case green electric cars are not so green after all (even if cities become cleaner, something else will become much worse - so even more hypocrisy).

So, in short, lot of hard work needs to be done before we go electric. Not impossible, but not trivial and very much time consuming.

69

In other words, the cost vs reward is simply not there to go electric. No economy on this planet can sustain this electric pipe dream.

Going electric is not in the best interest of the average consumer; it is in the best interest of Al gore, and other peddlers of fans, solar panels and electric vehicles that cost eight times as much as an similar performing ICE-powered car.

70

Great post, finally someone understands the problems in electric energy production and sees the long, arduous road towards fully electric transportation.

71

I really think you need to read up on molten salt reactors. You'll think you're reading a Sci-fi miracle. Darn things run on current nuclear waste we don't know what to do with and are safe enough to be packaged in a 20 foot container, no 6 foot cement barrier or anything. And potentially no power grid. Deliver one where needed, as needed, plug it in and go.

Also remeber electric cars charge at night mostly, during off peak.

72

Sebee; the peddlers of Eco-tech are not selling molten salt reactors, they're selling overpriced and unsustainably nonsense like fans and solar panels.

The general public is positively terrified of anything with the word "nuclear" in it. Al Gore and other peddlers of Eco-tech have taught them well.

73

No doubt we'll use that. There is nothing wrong with solar, except right now we don't have the necessary storage. That's happening. But those nuclear MSRs are going to be huge. You'll see.

74

or if they become a majority. Electric cars will balance out the grid in the future, with their usage in nights.

75

Plus, they could actually supply power to the house in outages.

76

I think it's going to take a long time for FE to rival F1.
FE cars are slow, ugly and sound terrible...and they're driven on B-grade tracks by mostly B-grade drivers.

77

Do they still have the fan vote-to-pass thing? I'm sorry I keep going on and on about it ... I will not watch unless or until that's gone.

78

Electric car has turn to a new leaf.

79

Stopped selling them here years ago, huge failure.

80

@ hilberti...that'd be the new Nissan leaf i suppose?

81

F1 is going to go electric eventually, as that's where road cars are going, and recognising FE is a great test bed for both getting in on the ground floor of that and developing tech which will translate to the consumer marketplace.

82

It's already taken off. It's where the rejects of F1 go to race...they are still top drivers so they get a second chance to show off their skills in these electric rickshaws 👍
Welcome Nissan to the show. Assume they'll be bringing their not so great Delta wing Sinclair C5 lookalike to the show. Always thought the car looked great even though it didn't have much success.

83

I haven’t really followed formula e too much but was of the opinion all cars were the same. If this is the case then how can an individual manufacturer influence performance within the team. The one reason I didn’t get interested was due to things like the fan boost. Seemed to be trying too hard to involve the audience. Another niggle was ridiculously narrow tracks

84

Chassis and aero are the same. Drive trains are open to development by manufacturers. There's a variety of different motor and transmission configurations used by the various teams. Softwear is also open to development.

Things that have nothing to do with electric development, like aero, safety cell, tires, suspension, etc...that is what is spec.

85

Batteries are the same, used to be Williams now McLaren. Which is the big thing wrong with electric cars, extremely poor calorific value in batteries. About 110 times worse than petrol (ie 550 kgs of battery = 5 kgs of petrol) and takes around 500 times longer to "recharge". At the current rate of battery developments that equals 180 years.

86

Imagine if some big name drivers signed for 2019/20 that would help.
I have watched a few races and some of the street tracks give little or no overtaking chances. Add some big names and a few classic F1 tracks and it could take off.

87

Little to no overtaking?? Watch a full season. There's much more overtaking in FE than in F1...and without the use of Drs or degrading tires.

88

Alonso? Some unharmed teams there for him. 🙂

89

Ouch Sebee 🙂

90

all the top manufacturers joining formula e will not make it a success so long as people are not interested in watching it. it is abnormal to force people to watch something they are not interested in. not even in north korea.
racing is about speed.
all car manufacturers make electric cars and they are not selling.
if the so called 'governments' are interested in reducing carbon dioxide production, they'd look at stopping the production of electricity from fossil fuels because that is the largest contributor to carbon dioxide production.
then the question, why are they trying to reduce carbon dioxide production in the first place, because carbon dioxide does not cause global warming. if they claim air pollution is causing excessive deaths in major cities, why is life expectancy much higher in london than the rest of the country.
politicians are well known lyars.

91

Think how long city dwellers would live if they weren't breathing in all that garbage!

92

governments are not elected only to protect city dwellers but all citizens so they should concern themselves with bringing up live expectancy of everyone up to that of the capital before trying to extend that of the capital.

93

The French newspapers I was reading recently made an interesting - and well founded - observation that the reason for the increase in global temperatures - to a certain extent - was not because of the West's consumption of energy, but because of the population explosion and subsequent industrialisation of China and India. Those two giants are currently experiencing their own industrial revolution which the West experienced around 200 years ago, and subsequently the likes of Mumbai and Shanghai are experiencing "the dark Satanic mills" of pollution and industrial discharge that make Western cities seem a like something out of The Sound of Music................

The biggest global emitters of nitrous and carbons are China, Russia, Iran, India and the USA. Does anyone think Trumpy, Chairman Xi and Putin are going to suddenly cut their oil consumption to degrade their nations economies?????????????

94

tell those french journalist that the world continues to evolve and climate change is part of it's evolution. humans and our activitues are insignificant to those of the evolution of the earth.

95
Dave Schmaldienst

No, it’s not. It’s a fad and boring. Lot of wasted money here.

96

that's what my grandfather said about aviation,

97

That is fad and boring?!
He probably didn't fly even once in his life...

98
Dave Schmaldienst

Yeah, I’m sure your grandfather said aviation is boring. I’m sure that happened. Racing is about cars. And the sound, and the look and the action, the smell, and the feel. FE has action, that’s all. No sound, no feel. Definitely no look either. Just like Indy, those cars are horrible looking. They’re not sexy at all and it will fail because no one is watching, either in person or on tv. Sorry.

100

I think FE will carry on as it is now, a cheap to enter series that manufacturers can get a bit of enviro cred from being involved in. The actual racing isn't that interesting for motorsport fans, the drivers are by and large people not good enough for F1and the cars are too slow to capture the imagination.

101

Renault/Nissan simply decided to swap between its two main global brands how they badge engineer the e-race cars with which they participate.
I am not sure this constitutes reason to think that Formula E is about to take off.
The series has not won an additional OEM, Nissan is coming INSTEAD of, not in addition to Renault.

This may be interesting from a pure marketing point of view but otherwise, hardly newsworthy. It is simply common sense, I would think, that since they have a works Renault F1 Team it is logical to use the "other" brand for Formula E.

102

I think the spectator market among those who would attend an Formula E event is significantly limited. I know this is not a scientific observation, but look at the number of electric/hybrid cars on the road as opposed to ICE powered vehicles. Its nowhere near a tipping point in the automotive industry. My feeling is that F1 has a good 40 years in it's future.

103

Electric has gone to 1% share in 1/4 the time of hybrid with 1/25 the model choices for buyers. 3 of 5 top electric cars are Chinese brands you never heard of. There are 300 million electric scooters in China already.

104

Who is watching Formula-e? The last couple of years were difficult when it comes to watching F1 races. For 3 years it was Mercedes vs Mercedes and this year Ferrari showed they are still Ferrari. Not fun. I started watching Moto GP 3 years ago and I was surprised...most probably the budget of all teams in Moto GP collectively is less than the budget of a Mercedes or even Williams. And yet, Moto GP races are shockingly great. If you love racing, then it just doesn't get any better! Last Moto GP race was pure madness. 8-9 riders fighting for the win? Contract between them...every lap you had a different leader. I just do not get Formula-e...what is cool about it other than political marketing?

105

Agree MotoGP has tremendous racing. As does Aussie Supercars, and new concepts like Rallycross. Indycar does as well.

106

Khan is lying through his teeth. Government.....everywhere....is out of control.

107

To paraphrase Thomas Hobbes:

There is only one thing in the world worse than having government, and that is not having government.

Or was that Oscar Wilde?

Anyway, electric only vehicles in cities would certainly be a respiratory health benefit for residents, just like not having residential and commercial chimneys constantly belching smoke was.

Certainly, some amount of carbon and particulate pollution will simply be geographically shifted, contributing equally to climate change, although perhaps having immediate negative health consequences to fewer people.

108
Tornillo Amarillo

Formula E is the E-lephant in the room.

109

Best of luck to them. I don't claim to be an avid fan but I watch it if it happens to be on, the racing is generally good if you can see past the lack of sound. The thing that annoys it for me is silly gimmicky things like the two cars and "fan boost". Sounds like they are getting rid of the two cars. Get rid of fan boost and race on some proper tracks and it could be quite good. They certainly have the attention of manufacturers and good drivers.

110

For me I'd watch it if it was on Sky F1 or on at more easily available times. The big thing I'd like to see is FE on proper race tracks, I don't particularly enjoy street circuits all the time. I'm not a fan of Liberty Media wanting to take F1 down the street circuit route, although it's a lot cheaper. It just lacks excitement for me.

111

They seem clever enough not to fight themselves in the same sport and this seems like a good way to go.
Contrast that with Audi and Porche giving it the botherly love act in WEC before some accountant at HQ questioned what the hell they were all up to lol.

112

It's great to see all these manufacturers coming on board, EV seems the future for road cars. That said, the series still doesn't grip me, not sure why. I quite regularly can't even be bothered to watch the highlights.

113

You are not alone.

114

No it isn't about to take off. It might grow but I don't know anyone that follows it so can't see it being a major event. My son aged 12 and his friends tried watching - were bored. Graduates at work - never heard of it. Me I keep trying but it's not getting it's hooks in. Last attempt was the Berlin ePrix - what an awful track!!!!

Electrification is clearly an important technology for road car manufacturers but Formula E isn't the answer.

The racing is generally dull and the tracks anodyne. Hell the cars aren't even that quick. My Caterham is almost as quick and the old TVR before that was too. These are cars made by men in sheds out of metal tubes and old Rover engines!!

People can buy a BMW M3 with similar or greater performance than a FE car. That shouldn't be right.

Formula E is missing the wow factor and it thinks just being electric is enough - it isn't. The technology might be interesting but the show is not. They need to work on the show a lot.

115

Interesting tech, but I don't want to watch a sport run by communists.

116

Alejandro Agag a communist? How amusing!

117

Supported by, to say the least... The electric car industry is a joke. A friend bought a BMW i3 - great car, but how much profit is made on each sale, eh? Exactly. Capitalism is dead. In a free market EVs don't stand a chance. Government subsidies (i.e. Largely debt at the end of the day) prop up this enterprise. And as for formula E how much is a ticket to go to an event? You can give it away for free and still no one cares to follow it with passion!

118

He's a different kind of communist. He's the type who wants everybody to be a communist, while he rakes in the profits 🙂

119

Formula E, it has the same problem as F1 currently, its fans can only watch live races from streams on the interwebs that are of pour quality or go to the race event.
I was able to watch the first 2 seasons of Formula e on YouTube, now i cant find anywhere to access it... so now i just don't watch it, just like i don't watch F1, because its behind a pay-wall...

120

Channel 5 is free?

121

Im aussie, no channel 5 here

122

Some will love it some will hare it but Formula E will attract it’s own audience. It can not be ignored

123

Yes electric cars are wonderful as long as you don't mind paying 30 percent more for them and maybe if your lucky getting 150 miles out of them per charge What really gets to me is the cost to the environment from cradle to grave that no one ever seems to talk about with all the pollution created by the making the batteries and the disposal but I guess in todays world it isn't politically correct to speak out against the tree huggers.....

124

Perhaps you just haven't taken the time to evaluate that question?
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-vehicles/electric-vehicles/life-cycle-ev-emissions

125

PC or not PC . Speak out otherwise you've lost what little freedom that still exists.

126

@ANT - Looks like we're asking the same question(s), only about an hour apart, "PC" or not, eh ?

127
Mother Shipton's chauffeur

Yeah, well they are ten times better than they were 15 years ago, and in 15 years time....
In the 60's the British bike industry and it's customers laughed at those stupid little Japanese bikes. Compare a 1997 computer with a modern one. Can you remember what the worldwide web was like back then? If you think the constraints of current cars are a reflection of where they'll be in a decade or two then I suspect you're mistaken. Electric cars aren't a perfect solution, but they are the future, and they're coming quicker than you think

128

I like the cars, I like the concept. It's new, exciting and the future. I hate the tracks—note, not the locations, just the street tracks. I'd really like to see a race on a purpose-built circuit.

129

I think the street circuits give them an inbuilt casual spectator base they wouldn't have if they had to travel further to a circuit.

130

they will escalate an arms race, as we saw in F1 in the mid 2000s

And yet, it was Peak F1. Most fans ever watching.

131

is it in the past?

132

That's not the point. I'm not even saying it was a good thing. Simply that raw pursuit of speed clearly resonated with fans in a big way.

There is no doubt about it, as James says letting manufacturers have their way distorts things, but we like to see them chase speed that way.

133

Bloodhound SSC...anyone care about MPG? Or do we just want to see something on wheels go 1000mph?

134

I attended Mexico with wife and daughter and was a fun day with practice, qualy and race all in one day
Fun activities to do/watch during off time and much closer to cars and drivers than in F1
Price is affordable for a change (experience is similar to WEC, except for the noise)

On TV, tracks are awful, no real passing (racing) chances, which spoils the whole thing.
Even on a permanent and fairly wide track like Mexico, shortened and squeezed (by chicanes) track looses some appeal

Even with less power and skinny tyres I assume cars can handle fairly well, there is no track where cars are cornering at some speed which to me, is the essence of racing, not full brakes and full power on 90 degree corners and chicanes between short straights

135

Fan Boost?

Okay, DRS is the SECOND worst idea in the history of racing.

136

You forgot elimination qualifying, sprinklers, exploding tyres, halo, and the Caterham CT05.

DRS is not super popular, but it's still waaay down the list 🙂

137

No way. DRS is a Dumb Racing System. I'm putting it above Fan Boost because it gives fan boost of sorts to every driver who's within a second.

138

As I said Sebee DRS is not popular, but it is available for *every* driver, not just whoever happens to be the favourite on the day, which - so far as I'm concerned - automatically makes it a better idea than this fan boost nonsense.

139

It's not available to every driver.

It's available to the driver 1s behind the driver who doesn't have it. Fan boost over and over again.

140

Do we have stats on how much fan boost has changes outcomes?

141

Yes Formula E will eclipse F1 within ten years, 15 at the max!
There are a lot of negative comments here, which flies in the face of the startling increased manufacturer involvement in FE.
Some of the comments may have a pearl of truth to them; I admit it, I don;t watch the series.
Yet, the writing is on the wall for gas-guzzling formula.
Certainly F1 is not dead yet, but the trend is very, very strong.
While big money of the entitled generation/class pours into F1, much from aging baby-boomers who, whether they admit it or not (likely not) follow it ultimately for nostalgia, and to a lesser but significant extent, for the overall brand association (yes, 'posing'), whether they are really into it or not, there is a segment of top-end professionals who want to be heard, 'talking the talk'.

I'm not judging this phenomenon, but I am saying that it is heading towards a cliff, a cliff, one must be honest, as the meaty market segment dies off by old age.

Formula E is doing quite a few things that F1 should be doing with market/fan engagement, which strikes a key with the younger market segment.

I've discussed, more than once, how F1 could still manage to keep on the top shelf, which would most likely ultimately conclude with a merger between the two series, in a electric/electric hybrid formula, but every day that F1 does NOT move towards a sustainable formula (in the 10-20 year time horizon) the probability of survival diminishes.

Don't shoot the messenger, it just is, what it is.

142

Why have FE and F1 merge? I mean, I can understand if if both are failing and together they stand a chance, but if the tipping point comes soon and FE is about as fast and more relevant to manufactures and F1 continues to bleed fans...what incentive is in merging for F1, as a brand? Just to be called F1?

143

I for one, see no writing on the wall announcing the end of F1, you are just confusing personal transportation outlook with racing.
F1 will retain for still some time it's success - mainly because among the few series to provide entertaining racing (first being MotoGP), it still captures imagination - if they change the PU restriction the sound of the cars will help with the "Wow factor" and because it's full electrical sibling is far from being fast and spectacular.
I do not think, as others do, that some "great names" would help the sport, if Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel decide to retire to F.E, and the feeling of the races remains still underwhelming, it would make no difference. Old folks driving in uninspiring cars is not a thing to dream about.

Maybe if in some 50 years not only the personal transportation will be based on electric power but also the industrial one (tankers, trucks, mass transportation, etc.), and the technology will allow mind bending performances from all electrical monoposts we will see Formula E replace F1 as the top racing series.
Nonetheless I would expect to see, as the first great evolution of the sport towards "green" power, a switch from fossil fuels to hydrogen.

144

Ionut E:
I guess, by your comment, you haven't read my position on this stuff before.
Here's an encapsulation:
1. I believe that the business ecosystem niche that F1 has occupied, since it's inception, is associated with automotive development; indirectly driving the adoption of improving automotive technologies in the mass market (I admit that the relationship, recently, 30-40 years, has become more and more tenuous); if you look at the rise of motor racing occurring shortly after the introduction of the automobile, you could see how the racing jockeys and mechanics spearheaded the development of road-adaptable technology.
2. Ultimately, and sooner than you think, from your comment, vast hydrocarbon-based power generation for automotive technology, and the toxic effluence it creates, will be recognized as non-sustainable/non-viable, rendering 'wasteful'* hydrocarbon-based power delivery 'sports', i.e. F1, anachronistic, i.e. not relevant in any way to the ongoing development of usable automotive technology.
3. So, F1 is displaced from it's original 'raison d'etre', to... to... totally absurd affectation (or something like that).
4. F1 survival is dependent on automotive manufacturer investment and ongoing involvement; the modern multinational corporation must get a minimum return on their investment (ROI) to justify ongoing expenses in the business/'sport'. But there will be no ROI from a venture which is completely detached from retail/road technology, even if only as a 'brand', i.e. if there is no relevance what so ever to the road/saleable technology, there will be no branding benefit (or at least anything coming close to achieving a minimum ROI).
So, to include a phrase from a comment below, from Random 79, "Manufacturers love it and...that's about it."; I say, "that's about it" is very, very significant for the ongoing future of F1, with only 3.5 manufacturers (Honda, of course, being the 0.5, slightly shakey at the moment).

So, in summary, motor racing top categories must have some, even as branding only, relevance to retail road automotive technology/development for it to be structurally viable as a business venture for the required manufacturer involvement, rejection of the strong trend away from inefficient hydrocarbon-based power generation will leave the manufacturers with no viable business cases to continue to invest in F1, therefore the series will die a sickly death of the irrelevant (yes, even if you bring back the 'wow-factor' of noisy engines!)

* - 'wasteful'* hydrocarbon-based power delivery
Just an addendum on this: the muscle care era of finding methods for burning more, and more gas/petrol is long past applicability now, and is only suggested purely as a nostalgic longing, i.e. not at all relevant for the current world dynamics and those moving forward, as energy 'wasted' on noise, could be used to make the car go faster, as it is in this current hybrid-turbo format.
The only chance for F1, retaining the hydrocarbon advantage, i.e. very concentrated usable energy, is to go to a maximum efficiency formula, where every kilojoule of kinetic energy can be extracted from the fuel, thus a steadily declining total race fuel constraint could yield a road-relevant formula, i.e. maintaining the raison d'etre of F1 in the business ecosystem, and deliver the maximum performance, assuming that the other series will inevitably follow suit away from mass hydrocarbon consumption, lest they too become irrelevant.

145

Hmm, I guess I didn't and now that I have I can definitely say I haven't lost much.
1 and 3 - road relevance became less of a factor in F1 with time, as formula cars reached the limits of what is applicable to road cars through natural refinement of technologies - it is the Fastest racing car series on real road designed tracks, anyone looking for most road relevant technology in a racing series should focus on WEC.
4 - at the moment F1 is a marketing exercise for car manufacturers with the random application in a limited production car. This needs to change, allowing the return of teams of enthusiasts and their survival in the series, providing they are competitive, weakening the grip manufacturers hold on F1.
3 - no matter the boastful claims of "clean" energy supporters, the harsh reality with technological problems, material shortages, politically skewed emissions road maps means that the change from fossil fuels to renewable energy will not come too soon.
Check the comments from senninhos, jdr, MarioB, they raise a lot of valid points and at http://uk.businessinsider.com/materials-needed-to-fuel-electric-car-boom-2016-10?r=US&IR=T you can find a forecast for demand of raw materials needed to produce the battery packs. Keep in mind that this forecast isn't talking about supplies needed for a total switch to electric power for road cars, it's just for this initial rapid growth in demand.

146

So you're saying that F1 cannot retrench to entertainment first privateer type series? You think the brand is that important?

If so, what is RBR teaching us with Aston Martin? Could branding be achieved at a much lower brier of entry?

I think extracting energy from weight or mass of fuel is silly because of how little electrons weigh, and how you can put them back in the tank that is battery.

Regarding relevance, where do you put autonomous cars in this relevance?

F1's best choice is to become more entertaining, more noisy, more evenly matched. And most importantly to lower cost of participation, and that immediately makes the ROI calculation better by improving amount I necessary in ROI.

147

"There are a lot of negative comments here, which flies in the face of the startling increased manufacturer involvement in FE"

Precisely - Manufacturers love it and...that's about it.

148

Very well written. Change is inevitable. And for the best.

149

Electric cars............. enough said 👊👊👊

150

I went to the Long Beach FE race in 2015, because the admittance was free. I'm afraid it did not do a lot to excite me. However, it was very fan-friendly with all drivers available for autographs including Yarno Trulli, Bruno Senna, and Nelson Piquet. Over time, I'm sure it will improve with faster cars and better venues (although Long Beach is fine as it hosts IndyCar and has hosted F1 and Champ Car). As technology improves to the point where cars can run a full length F1 distance with one car, then it may be worth watching.

However, the point that electric cars transfer hydrocarbon pollution elsewhere is not altogether true, if you include other sources of electricity such as solar, wind turbines, hydro-electric power, and nuclear power (if one can overcome one's fear of it).

151
Clarks4WheelDrift

So Nissan are entering Formula E...

Interesting how the "green marketing" obsession of big manufacturers is altering motorsports, often for the worse in my opinion as with the F1 PUs.

Read a good article on BBC about a guy that went ahead and got emissions tests done on his old petrol 1990s golf v his dads 2009 diesel skoda that also provided data on new cars including the Nissan Qashqai (or Quashquai or whatever)... fuel economy/CO2/NOx toxicity/lab testing vs real world testing etc...

This Nissan overtook the Ford Fiesta to become the most registered car in the UK (still don't get the obsession with SUV/MPV high centre of gravity 'cars') and it came in on the nitrogen oxides scale as 1.46g of NOx per km which is over 18x the Euro 0.08g/km limit... the old Golf came in at 0.68 and the Diesel Skoda at 0.26 g/km.

Five old Skoda diesels produce less NOx than the new Nissan Q tested...

Marketing eh...

Wonder if one manufacturer will throw tons of money at Formula E and dominate, or is being on the start list and using it for marketing enough?
Pity being green in F1 didn't just mean calendar tweaks and using less jumbos to fly the stuff about etc.

Article link if interested...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/how_toxic_is_your_car_exhaust

152
Mother Shipton's chauffeur

F-e is a pinpoint in the sky that's slowly getting brighter, the dinosaurs haven't paid it too much attention yet but it'll be their undoing faster than they think; unless they start planning now. Regardless of folk moaning that it doesn't 'sound good', or trying to find reasons to argue that electric vehicles aren't actually less polluting, the die is cast and the motor industry is about to undergo a massive metamorphosis over the next couple of decades. F1 has a choice to either remain relevant by heading in the same direction, embracing, even leading these new technologies, or it can retreat into a backwater of obselescent irrelevance. The next set of engine rules may be the deciding factor of which route F1 goes down . People may not like it but change is a coming and if F1 doesn't take the lead then F-e will. Realistically I can envisage the two converging in maybe a decade or so's time, perhaps leading to a merger, or the death of one.

153

Nope, still doesn’t do anything for me!
But of course there’s coming more manufacturers to FE, they’ve got to be seen to be doing the right thing...good for the image I suppose.
Good or bad, it doesn’t interest me one little bit.

154

I have not seen a Formula E race but the concept I think will take. It will obviously change over time. With countries around the world putting what is effectively a use by date on mass produced fossil fuel cars, an alternate form of racing will take hold. Also it appears that electric vehicles are at much cleaner over their life span than diesel cars.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/25/electric-cars-emit-50-less-greenhouse-gas-than-diesel-study-finds

155

I see a lot of negative comments over Formula E. I too came to the sport at first not being impressed, but I've gotten to really like it for several reasons.

1. I like how the drivers have to manage the energy of the batteries. During one race Dario Franchitti did a segment on the little tricks they use and I think it was rather interesting how much responsibility the driver has over the energy usage. No staff of engineers in the pits tweaking the engine.

2. I like that the tires aren't so damn critical to everything. F1 has become so wrapped up in how long each compound lasts and how there is a mandatory compound switch, etc.

3. And finally, the racing is more fun. Drivers are trying some wild passing moves and a bit of bumping is allowed without all the F1 histrionics.

I do agree with everyone who has posted here about the tracks. Formula E really needs to make them seem less arcade-like.

156

The real tipping point will be when the major car markets in Europe and Asia (and possibly Canada) start banning petrol only engines. At that point it will be too expensive to build both petrol and electric drive cars and so they will focus on the electric drive. Once Europe and Asia has done all the heavy lifting on terms of development of electric cars, the American car market will reluctantly come on board. Finally, Africa, Central, and South America will bring up the rear.

The real problem is not the Technology. It is simply that petrol engines are extremely simple, cheap and convenient to design, market and support right now, while all the alternatives are too complicated for the average car owner. We consumers (particularly the Americans) are by nature "selfish" - we do not like to pay "extra" for anything (except when we supersize our fast food order).

157

I'm old and I don't like anything new!
Bring back V10's and the loud noise they made! What did you say? I can't hear you...
Get off my lawn you darned kids!

158

Just wait till the batteries become competitive with petroleum.
Just wait till governments quit subsidizing the purchase price.

159

Renault switching to Nissan is a "meh" for me....it's like saying Cadillac will race at Lemans instead of Chevy. Same difference.

I'm more interested to see how the series progresses once the other big manufacturers join in. I'm not interested in watching Porsche and Audi, or any other VAG member, hold hands in the boardroom and "compete" on track - if anything, they need to introduce a rule something along the lines of "1 team per parent company", or something like that.

Otherwise, it's a decent series. I've watched it since season 1...but I watch pretty much everything, so not sure if that counts for anything . Has its pros and cons for sure, but overall I get enjoyment from watching it.

Fan boost needs to go away asap, and the circuits need big improvement. Once the single car format comes into play in 2 seasons, it'll be pretty legit. The cars seem tough to drive, overtaking is tough, unassisted, and difficult as it should be; yet still prevalent. Strategy plays a big role, the tech differences between the cars are macro (eg some cars use a 2 speed trans, others a 3 speed, and I think there was a 4 speed too?), and the drivers seem to make a very significant difference.

Some of the street circuits are ok, but I'd love to see the organizers venture out a little bit, and explore some of the gem circuits out there that are inaccessible to F1. Brands Hafch, Leguna Seca, Lime Rock, Salzbergring...the bullrings of the racing world.

160

I think any arms race in FE is going to be far more useful to Joe Motorist than the equivalent in F1... so would it be such a bad thing?

Also I keep hearing that Porsche is entering F1 after 2021 alongside their FE program. I wonder why they would consider that?

161

TBH...I couldn't be less interested. Electric motors running off a big battery holds no interest for me. Engineering sophistication and intricate machines are my bag. I compare these machines to a watchmaking exercise. What would you prefer...A Patek Philippe skeleton 'tourbillon' or a plastic cased, digital chipped battery run display unit? I know my predilection. Not only does the prospect fail to ignite any passion i also fear that if it grows too much then what will all those great engineers currently employed in F1 do for a living? The same question applies when the examining the flow on effects of centrally imposed Budget Caps. No, I'm afraid that FE is not for me. I've tried it and i didn't like it. An exercise in soundless and soulless pretend car racing.

162

The biggest single problem with FE is they can't make the the racing entertaining because the tracks have to be designed so as not to flatten the batteries. So that means short straights, low speed corners, no flowing high speed curves and absolutely no hills, ever. The cars have to spend as little time accelerating and as much time braking so the battery can at least last a few kilometres. Rough calculations indicate 5 laps at Spa and the batteries would be flat.

FE cars and fast, high speed, flowing tracks are simply not compatible right now and won't be for at least another 150 years based on the current rates of battery and generative development.

163

That picture with the article banner, Formula E cars on a road with LOCAL SCENERY; I'd watch that, instead of the same-every-location, sterile, Death Star trench that makes everywhere look the same.

Not sure how long the whiny engines would keep me watching though.

164

All the people that are criticizng FE are using all the wrong reasons and logic. If we quickly run through these silly reasons:
1) The cars sound bad/quiet: Out of all the reasons this must be the most pointless one.
2) The cars are slow: They might be slow but in the near future they will go as fast a F1 car (topspeed) because technology is getting there. The future is electric. Besides, electric cars have better acceleration then petrol cars. That is a fact.
3) The batteries don't last long: They will. Eventually.
4) Tracks are bad: FE cars are not fast enough to race in race tracks but when they go up in speed, I'm sure they will do that.

Is there any legit reason for FE being a bad series? At least in the next 5-10 years?

165

but in the near future they will go as fast a F1 car

Define near future please. Batteries and electric motors have both been around for longer than the ICE and petrol. I'm not sure why you (and others) have such confidence that some fantastic discovery is waiting just tantalisingly round the corner. What if this is it?

166

Yes, they are all legitimate reasons. Motor racing is an audio as well as visual experience, so sound is important. The next 3 have in fact the same cause, battery technology doesn't allow for high speed over a race distance. Batteries don't last long, that's a fact. The extremely short battery life is the reason for the slow speed tracks, a 5 or 6 lap race at Spa is going to capture an audience.

It may be another inconvenient truth, but the calculations show at the current rate of battery technology development it will take somewhere between 150 and 180 years to develop a battery that will last as long as the same weight of petrol.

It's a bad series now and still will be for a long time after we, our kids and our grandkids are pushing up daisies.

167

This is an interesting series and one that F1 needs to take a look at. If only for the simple reason that the racing is so awful on those temporary tracks, lined with concrete and fencing. If F1 is looking to gain more city based tracks it will be a series of poor races that don't allow a race car to do what it's so excellent at. Think Spa, Silverstone, Monza and every other real race track and then compare to a temp track they race on. No contest really.

168

I know and accept hybrids and EVs will eventually be a common thingm ie, "The Future...'

I just cannot yet get excited about a racing series were the cars go "WHEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" like my old R/C cars as a kid....

Still, maybe if BMW climbs into the sport i may change my mind...that i8 may be a hybrid but my goodness is it sexy!

169

3 reasons I cant watch FE (yet), not in order...

1. Tracks are awful
2. Speed is touring car at best, not great for single-seaters (yes I'm exaggerating a bit)
3. Changing cars mid race

Sort those 3 out and you've got my interest. Noise - I don't really care about.

Personally I think FE and F1 should be partnered. FE inner city, manufacturer friendly - help push dev of electrical storage, power, coding etc. F1 should be an open formula, run v6,8,10,12 whatever BUT there's limitations around safety and cost.

FE and F1 races over the same weekend. F1 at Silverstone, FE in central London for example. Manufacturers championships in both, drivers championships in both.

A radical idea I know... never going to happen I know. Would tick a lot of boxes for shareholders and manufacturers though.

170

Formula E is an exciting new formula promoting the technologies that will propel most all of us into the future. The synergies between the race teams and the cutting edge of industrial R&D is amazing and will accelerate the rise of electronic vehicle on the road (and off). It's thrilling that road-racing is the format being used for this purpose.

171

FE is certainly the series for “road relevance” and so you get to see manufacturers performing r&d in the public eye largely subsidised by the taxpayer, and only in it because their competitors are. It’s a shareholder thing. As a “motor” sports spectacle it is mildly interesting but no more. Even with free admission they could barely get the spectator numbers into 4 figures in London. There probably IS a niche for FE but they just haven’t found it yet.

172

Ironic that the objections to the London race in Battersea Park was the smell and pollution from the diesel powered generators that sustain the event. Can understand the locals not wanting another helping

173

It it makes one feel good than E racing is fine for a few. But don’t confuse this with actually reducing emissions. The combined emissions from the logistics and support vehicles dwarf those of the race cars

174

Hi James, nice article...Do you have any knowledge regarding driver salieries in Formula E? Where would they rank in terms of financial attractiveness for drivers, vs (for example) BTCC, WEC and Indycar?

175

I don't but it's a good question

176

Its not a true development war though... its a standardised battery pack.

If you want to do this series for the benefit of road car tech then that needs to change.

177

Is Nissan really a new brand entering, or is this just a rebranding, with the team taking over the technology developed by Renault?

178

I would say it's very much the latter.

179

I have nothing but contempt for Sadiq Khan, a bureaucrat of the high order. Nonsense like "pollutants from vehicles.. impose an economic cost between £1.4bn and £3.7bn a year" is just, well, nonsense. I would love to see the cost if we had zero polluting vehicles on London roads, because the city would literally stop functioning overnight.

180

The thing I find hard to understand on his approach is that he shuts down Uber with their Prius hybrids and then supports black cabs that spew out diesel fumes all day long with their engines running while they wait at stations.. how is that improving London's air quality?

181

Were Uber providing their own vehicles?

I got the impression that it was normal drivers, including minicab drivers from my local office, responding to jobs through the Uber app.

The Uber shutdown is related to regulations that public-usage services are subject to, that the company reportedly routinely ignores in every territory that it goes into. Nothing to do with hybrid vs diesel.

I use Black cabs a fair bit, with my office close to one of their main stations, and a) they don't keep their engines running whilst waiting; b) they seem to be going the hybrid route themselves:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/11/black-cab-turns-green-new-electric-london-taxi-levc-tx

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