For such a young series, the amount of positivity surrounding Formula E at the moment is astonishing. A quick glance at social media throughout, and even away from a race weekend shows just how quickly fans have fallen in love with the new electric racing series. With Monday’s news that eight manufacturers have already signed up for the 2015/2016 race, it’s clear to see that Formula E’s first season has been a huge success.
‘The manufacturers have already brought a chassis to start developing’, says Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E. ‘They should have them by April and they should be ready to crash test in May and June’. He later went on to suggest that off-season testing could take place in July, which will likely take place in Donington, home of the Formula E teams.
Whilst the near future looks very exciting for fans of Formula E, the long-term future of the series is starting to take shape. ‘The manufacturers will be working on the battery in season three and four to make them more efficient and hopefully last longer, but the big leap will happen in season five when they have to build only one to last the whole race’, said Agag.
Those who haven’t yet bought into the series often cite the need for switching cars mid-way through a race as a turn off. Whilst the long-term plan of the series will give the teams a way of demonstrating just how much progress is being made in the world of electric batteries, many will still argue that the need to switch cars after no more than a dozen laps detracts from the show and simply draws too much attention to the limitations of electric cars. Thankfully the racing up to this point has been making many of the headlines and fans are willing to give the cars time to develop because the on-track action has been first class. However the move to using only one car per race could prove to be a marketing opportunity that is too good to pass up for many manufacturers.
Manufacturers will be hoping that the success of Formula E will cause global markets to see higher adoption rates of electric vehicles, emulating countries like Japan where there are over 40,000 individual charging units across the country, compared to around 34,000 petrol stations. It should therefore come as no surprise that Japanese fans have become Formula E’s single largest audience, with a combined viewership of over 15 million from the opening four races.
Whilst the future of electric cars is not dependent on Formula E, the series will undoubtedly impact the general publics opinion on electric cars and their viability as replacements for petroleum based vehicles.
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Written by: Anil Parmar