They’re going to need a long extension cable: An electric version of F1 aims to turbo charge the environment-friendly car market

 

It will accelerate from 0 to 60mph in less than three seconds, before topping out at close to 140mph, but unlike most race cars, the all-new Spark-Renault isn’t a high-octane monster but an electric green machine that could boost the electric car industry.

Formula E, a new electric racing championship that will lead “a silent revolution”, is the brainchild of Alejandro Agag, a businessman and former political aide to the Spanish president, who is already team principle of a GP2 race team. “There are more sports fans in the world than environmentalists,” he said. “But at the moment people don’t think of electric cars as fun or cool. Formula E hopes to change that.”

According to Mr Agag the FIA-approved championship is “a new form of environmentally friendly racing” that will see 10 teams compete on 10 closed-street races around the world, starting in Beijing in September 2014 before coming to London in June 2015.

Drivers will stop for a new car halfway through each hour-long race – for a fresh electric battery. Despite this, Mr Agag hopes to create excitement with social media interaction: “Fans will be able to vote for their top driver during the race. And the driver with the most votes earns an extra power surge.”

It has been described as a “glorified milk-float race”, but Mr Agag argues Formula E will “push electric cars into the mainstream”. He is also quick to point to a report from Ernst & Young which predicts the new championship could encourage the purchase of 77 million new electric cars, create 42,000 green jobs and save 900 million tons of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere – the equivalent of Italy’s annual output – over the next 25 years.

Chas Hallett, What Car? editor in chief, told The IoS that motorsport has always been a “valuable marketing tool” for selling cars but that manufacturers “need a lot more awareness of electric vehicles to drive sales”.

Electric car sales in the UK jumped by 25 per cent in the last quarter to 1,149 registrations, according to the latest government figures, but growth is still 20 per cent slower than the rest of the new car market.

The Renault-Nissan alliance, the biggest player in the electric market, has admitted the two firms will miss their target of selling 1.5m cars between them by the end of 2016; Vauxhall has only managed to find 200 buyers for its Ampera electric model this year, and the much talked-about Model S from PayPal founder Elon Musk has only been shipped to 1,000 customers in Europe so far this year.

Mr Agag isn’t short of drive, though, and has ploughed “multiple millions” into the $100m (£62m) venture. Despite the fanfare, however, he doesn’t actually own an electric car himself yet. But he says that is going to change soon.

Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
News
news
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
tvChristmas special reviewed
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

    £40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

    Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

    £70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

    Day In a Page

    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all