Electric cars are many things. Green. Smart. Technological wonders. But they’re not usually sexy.. at least not until now. Fusion was on hand to see the unveiling of the first Formula E car at CES.
Yes, a play on words, the Formula E is designed to be the Formula 1 of the electric car racing circuit. And to start the electric car racing circuit. And to make people want to partake in the electric car racing circuit. Yep, a tall order we know.
But it’s happening, nonetheless, scheduled for September 2014 in ten major cities around the world. We saw the first Formula E car at CES 2014, Las Vegas, and got to see it in action. Sadly, no touching or driving was allowed.
The first model is worth approximately $500,000 and is called the Spark-Renault SRT_01E. It weighs in at a minimum of 800 kg, including the driver and the battery part of that weighs 200kg. Maximum power is 200kw, comparative to 270 brake horse power and it includes a power saving mode to conserve energy. It can accelerate 0-100kmh in three seconds and reach an estimated 225km per hour.
Made from carbon aluminum, carbon fiber and Kevlar, it has 18 inch treaded Michelin tires for traction.
It has a single seater chassis. During racing time the battery is expected to last 20-30 minutes, with pit stops allowed to change cars. Yes, you’re meant to have TWO cars to race. They say this is because, “today’s current battery technology is not sufficiently advanced to allow a one hour race at full speed without recharging."
Ex Formula 1 driver Lucas di Grassi looked handsome as he spun it around a mini circuit and spoke effusively about how the “torque was very different."
The car looked good as it was wheeled to the track.. and then its started moving. It squeaked. Like a kettle boiling, a surprised mouse, a little girl running under a table. It whizzed around corners with strained scratchy noises, and though it looked stunning.. it felt very surreal.
And it didn’t feel very green. The cost of manufacturing the car, the parts and the elements felt like the designers had seen it as a challenge rather than something viable for everyday use. But then race cars aren’t everyday.
The president said that the purpose “is to redefine electric cars as something beautiful,” and to that extent they achieved it.
Just a shame that it might not be very green.
Multiple companies have a part in this creation, all familiar to those with motocross background- Dallara for the chassis, Williams for battery, Michelin tires, McLaren for electronics and Renault for integration.
The proposed Formula E race will start September 2014, and the itinerary includes ten major cities, London, Beijing, Los Angeles and more. The structure is that of an open championship, where any manufacturer or contestant who has a car to the specific standard can enter. A total of ten teams, two drivers per team, is required. So far a number of people are on board – one supporter is Leonardo DiCaprio, but whether this will take off is anyone’s guess.
Ingrid Rojas is a Colombian multimedia producer based in Miami. She spends her days either shooting, producing or editing all kinds of video content.