As transport is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions around the world there has been a lot of pressure for vehicles to move to electric powertrains. Most manufacturers are releasing at least one electric model, or converting their entire offering to electric for consumers. However, many are also adapting their technology to motorsport. This is allowing them to test new options and showcase their brand's EV models. The great power and reaction times of EVs it is making for thrilling racing.
Below are a few new electric motorsports you may want to check out! They are helping to grow the uptake of EVs around the world and introducing many people to the great driving experience of electric - minus the roaring engines.
The highest level of electric motorsport, Formula E gained FIA World Championship in the 2020-21 season. The electric version of Formula 1 sees teams compete on the same tracks however removes the need to pit, except for damages, as fuel and tyre changes are not needed in Formula E. Instead there is Attack Mode where drivers use the activation zone off the racing line to gain another 30kw of power that they can use for a few laps to give them an edge. EV manufacturers such as Nissan, Jaguar, Mercedes and Porsche all have teams within Formula E which allow them to utilise their existing electric capabilities and grow their brand image within the EV space.
The FIA sanctioned off-road racing series using electric SUVs started in April 2021. This epic five-race global series features one female driver and one male driver per team in order to promote gender equality in motorsport just as much as it promotes sustainability. A surprise this year was Mclaren joining Extreme E, unveiling their livery alongside their Formula 1 car for 2022. Having such a large racing team involved is great for improving recognition of Extreme E. Furthermore Kiwi driver Emma Gilmour joins the team alongside Tanner Foust sporting the #58 of Kiwi founder Bruce Mclaren.
MotoE World Cup
The FIM MotoE World Cup is an electric motorcycle world cup series that joined the MotoGP World Series in 2019. The series has used the Energica Ego Corsa motorcycle from inception, manufactured by Energica Motor Company, but will change to Ducati from 2023. The time Italian brand Energica has had as the MotoE single manufacturer has given them the opportunity to learn from the track to adapt their road bikes, as well as grow their brand. The Ego Corsa used for MotoE has been praised for its power and reliability.
Previously Pure ETCR in 2021, in 2022 this eTouring Car World Cup gains FIA status. FIA ETCR allows manufacturers to showcase their electric vehicle models with 3 teams so far; Alfa Romeo, Cupra and Hyundai. Head of Discover Sports Events, Francois Ribeiro, states that it "also allows manufacturers ... to introduce all the positive aspects of electric mobility, incredible power, efficiency and sustainability into the homes of a worldwide audience. Now, with the support of the FIA, we take the next step." The first of 7 rounds begin in Pau, France before touring Europe and finishing in Korea. Vehicles use a spec powertrain supplied by the series organisers and manufacturers use their own chassis and bodywork.
The RX2e is the first FIA sanctioned rallycross championship. The vision for RX2e – a joint venture between Spanish electro-mobility specialist QEV Technologies and Swedish rallycross powerhouse Olsbergs MSE – is to provide a pathway to the top of the sport for aspiring rallycross stars via an arrive-and-drive concept. The series began in 2021 and is focussed strongly on driving ability with the single-vehicle spec.
The E-Andros Trophy is the French national ice racing championship. Featuring the best ice drivers in the world - the F1 drivers of ice - the race now involves using 100% electric-powered cars. Makeshift race tracks set up around the ski resorts with the championship split into two categories, professional (Elite Pro) and amateur (Elite). In total, six teams will run 28 cars across these two classes between them. The championship runs over 5 rounds between December and January. 2022 will be the second year of the Andros Trophy being 100% electric.
Even more motorsports are introducing electric championships, or allowing EVs to compete alongside their petrol counterparts. It is great to see that the support, especially from the FIA, for more sustainable motorsports is growing. The improved environmental aspect of it should encourage more companies to invest too which will help ensure the sports can prosper.