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A new motorsport series sanctioned by the FIA and made up exclusively of electric race cars is coming in 2014. That series is the Formula E Championship, which so far has added Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Rome, Italy as two locations where its zero-emission, electric race cars will be competing.
While racing electric cars is certainly a new concept in motorsports, the people behind the Formula E Championship, Formula E Holdings, see it as something much more. By racing in some of the world’s most congested cities, Formula E Holdings aims to promote the benefit of electric cars not just in motorsports but also for general consumption.
Some of the benefits being touted are zero emissions, low noise and greater consideration of range.
Other locations being negotiated include Berlin, Germany, Mumbai, India, and Shanghai, China.
A total of 10 teams and 20 drivers are expected to compete in the inaugural season of Formula E, which is currently scheduled for 2014. Demonstration races will start in the latter parts of next year, and testing of the cars is already well underway.
All teams will use a common chassis built by Spark Racing Technology and powered by electric drivetrains supplied by McLaren--yes, the same McLaren that competes in Formula One. Of course, teams are allowed to build their own chassis as long as it meets the Formula E regulations. The initial design will be based on the Formulec EF01 prototype.
Each of the races, known as an “Electric Prix,” will take place in a single day, including qualifying and the actual race. The races are expected to be one hour in length, yet the projected run time for the cars is just 25 minutes. To get around this issue, each driver will have two cars so that when the first runs out of juice, the driver simply pits and hops into the waiting car.
The cars will be capable of 0-60 acceleration in 3.0 seconds and have a top speed of 150 mph. The latter is limited in order to preserve battery life.