The FIA Formula E is a new breed of motor sport, featuring solely electric-powered cars. The FIA describes the championship as a “framework” for exploring and researching the long-term use of electric power and sustainable energy. Car manufacturers are invited to the “open championship” where they have an open field to enter their energy-efficient designs and showcase their electric powered cars.
September 2014 will mark the first official Formula E races, which will run until June 2015. Ten teams will compete against each other in ten different cities globally, including Los Angeles, London and Beijing.
“This spectacular series will offer both entertainment and a new opportunity to share FIA’s values for clean energy, mobility and sustainability. The FIA is definitely looking to the future,” says Jean Todt, President of the FIA.
Development of new electric powered race cars has become more and more common in recent years. Earlier this year, Drayson unveiled its lightweight car Lola B12 69/EV, which set a new speed record, hitting speeds of over 200mph.
Meanwhile, Nissan revealed their Zeod RC race car that can reach 180mph and will race at the next Le Mans 24 Hours in an exhibition of the potential power of electric. The Zeod RC isn’t Nissan’s first foray into electric cars. Thanks to their lithium battery technology, they have already manufactured the Nissan LEAF and expounded on the ideas with the Zeod RC.
Racing Becomes a Technology Showcase
Qualcomm, a manufacturer of smartphone chips, has partnered with FIA Formula E to provide the racing championship with technology for racers and their teams. The company, or “Official Founding Technology Partner”, will supply wireless-charging and augmented-reality technology for racers as part of the new five-year sponsorship deal, as well as provide amenities like charge-points for fans in attendance.
Qualcomm intends to use the deal to showcase its technology to a global audience. Electric vehicle advocates will see the partnership as a positive in promoting the use of electric and sustainable power on a mainstream medium.
“Our collaboration with the FIA Formula E Championship is not just a great opportunity to showcase Qualcomm technologies, such as our Halo WEVC system, but to evaluate and improve wireless connectivity and EV technology across the globe, especially in the host cities,” said Anand Chandrasekher, Qualcomm’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We hope this arrangement will leverage mobile technology to enhance the fan experience and impact the global movement toward more sustainable living.”
Alejandro Agag is the CEO of Championship Promoters Formula E Holdings, who own and operate the racing championship. “As the global leader in mobile technology, Qualcomm’s involvement will not only help us develop new advances in EV tech, but also to provide our fans and the world’s EV community with the best race viewing experience possible,” he says. “New technologies in connectivity, wireless and mobile fit perfectly with a championship open to new technology, not only for the cars but for everything around the venue.”
However, Qualcomm concedes that they do not expect some rapid turnaround in the wider public’s perception of electric cars. “We will make people more inclined to buy an electric car, but this will take time – five or 10 years,” said Agag when speaking to the BBC.