Electric vehicles are rapidly changing the daily driving experience for more and more of us. It is rapidly gaining popularity in Electric car racing and other motorsports. Petrol-infused racing has reached the edge of integration with the development timeline of the electric race car. They offer a unique driving experience, with instant torque and impressive acceleration that can match and even surpass their petrol-powered counterparts. Plus, they emit zero emissions, making them a more sustainable and eco-friendly option for motorsports.
Formula E, Moto-E, and extreme e-racing are replacing the mainstream Formula 1 and Moto GP races. When we hear motorsport (the “Sound of Speed”!), burning rubber, fuel fumes, and speed are the main attractions but with climate change being one of the greatest concerns in today's global affairs, motorsports is no exception to the change that innovation is bringing to the markets.
Of late, Formula-E (Electric Car race), and Moto-E (Electric Motorcycle Racing), which encompasses a series of formula vehicles that run on batteries as an energy source, has gained popularity.
Formula E has astounding performance specifications, which can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 2.2s and has a top speed of 280 km/h, while the Formula 1 vehicle has a top speed of 230 mph (370 kph).
However, enthusiasts envision racing as a mindset. They claim that the rally or Formula 1 car's roaring engines are the racing experience's main elements. People can relate to the thrill and adrenaline involved in driving a car, the engine's rumble, the run's fierceness, and the gear shifting. They argue that sustainability will deprive fans of one of the fascinating aspects of racing: its deafening noise. Yet, as the evolution of technology embraces the world of motorsports, so will the evolution of the “Sound of Speed”! If internal combustion engines are replaced by electric vehicles in the automobile industry, viewers will become familiar with electric powertrains and draw parallels to the experience of watching Formula-E. This insight could be a prime reason for the demographic shift in motorsport.
In this blog, we will delve into the current state of EV motorsports, challenges faced by electric vehicles in the motorsports industry, the benefits of electric vehicles in motorsports, criticisms and controversies surrounding electric vehicles in motorsports, and the future of Electric Vehicles in Motorsports. Remember before there was motorsports, there was racing! As racing progressed into motorsports, the transformation of racing to motorsports has created the “living” laboratory/ test bed for innovation of technology in the automotive world!
The Current State of EV Motorsports
In some racing events, electric vehicles compete alongside combustion engine vehicles, for example, in the Isle of Man TT and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb; in some cases, they are winning outright.
Zero emissions championships, such as the FIA Formula E World Championship aka (Formula E), Extreme E aka (XE), and FIM Enel Moto E World Cup, have come to the fore since 2014.
Promoting a brand new image, Formula E has an entirely different racing format than traditional motorsport races. The inaugural championship race was held in Beijing in September 2014, and the series has had FIA world championship status since 2020. Formula E has also attracted significant racing teams, including Mercedes, Porsche, Nissan, Nio, and Jaguar.
Extreme-E racing (XE) is an off-road racing championship featuring electric SUVs racing in extreme conditions in challenging remote regions. The EV racing vehicles possess a battery charged by a solar-powered hydrogen fuel cell generator. XE is on a mission to save the planet! With their commitment to net zero, they are taking a stand against climate change and its devastating impact on our environment.
Moto E is a motorcycle racing category that exclusively features electric motorcycles. Previously it was referred to as the MotoE World Cup and has been running since 2019. However, it has now attained the status of a World Championship, starting from 2023.
Let us now inspect what the challenges faced by electric vehicles in the motorsports industry are.
Challenges Faced by electric vehicles in the motorsports industry
Although the improvements achieved by electric car racing, Formula E teams are phenomenal, the vehicle of the first season reached 100 kilometers per hour in three seconds and had a top speed of 220 kilometers per hour which is still very much below the 370 kilometers per hour that some F1 cars attained. Regarding efficiency, F1 cars consume about 46 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers, increasing pollution. The high consumption provides a much higher power in return.
The exhilarating noise (that “Sound of Speed”!) of traditional motorsports is also an essential factor for the viewers. Where Formula 1 cars can reach 130+ dB, Formula E cars reach about 80 dB, only slightly more than half of F1 Cars, because of which the audience seems disconnected.
But considering the energy is 100% electric, clean, and much cheaper, and safety systems are comparable to those of the top category, it is likely that in the future, Formula E and extreme e-racing can replace the smell of gasoline in the circuits for a more efficient emotion.
The development in the electric motorsport sector has been exponential, as initial obstacles are continuously being overcome to make the sport more fierce and increase the entertainment value to the audience.
In the next section, we will see how electric vehicles benefit motorsports in different aspects.
The Benefits of electric vehicles in Motorsports
The progress in EV technology and the development of the electric motorsports industry will mainly have a positive impact on society. The improvement in the development of new EV products will result in decreased costs and increased dependability. It will be feasible to reduce the carbon footprint and help alleviate global warming by incorporating these approaches and utilizing zero-emission vehicles.
In order to stay competitive and expand their reach, automotive manufacturers must continually introduce new products and enter new markets, including the world of motorsports, which provides access to a global audience. This drive to succeed is fueled by the need to achieve the objective of zero emissions, which motivates companies to invest in the development of new technologies, despite the associated costs.
The evolution of the Electric vehicle contributes to more job creation and technological advancement. This innovative technology decreases fossil fuel dependence while minimizing climate change and cost.
The environmental impact of electric motorsports technology and research is unquestionably outstanding. Earlier, the EV's potential to become the masses' preferred car was obstructed because of the overall sustainability issues with batteries and electric motors. But the discovery of Lithium-ion battery technology has contributed to the growth of electric cars. The advancements in battery technology will lead to the continued rise of electric vehicles in the near future.
As quoted by the founder of gititstore.com, Max Whitfield, "The performance developed in race vehicles to generate and sustain these speeds is at an extreme level of vehicle operation, exceeding that required by the average consumer. By achieving these levels of performance and sustainability for these vehicles, the by product will directly translate into the future development of more advanced electric batteries and hydrogen cells, electric motors, and other conventional drivetrain components. The premium battery technology used in these electric cars will aid in developing the electric vehicle for mass production, with performance levels that outperform the current combustible engine vehicles driven today with zero emissions."
Criticisms Surrounding Electric Vehicles in Motorsports
The lack of revved-up noise in EV racing does not give the feel and emotion to the viewers. For them, the roaring engines and rumbling sounds are the main attractions of the racing world.
On the other hand, batteries need to be a stronger point in developing EV technology due to costs, weight, driving range, and recharge time. It's evident that at this early stage in electric motorsports' development, many of the rules and standards are still being put down. The current state of automotive development differs from that of the last century, as it is not a situation of gradual improvement that has charted a clear path for all stakeholders. Instead, the current phase involves a reinvention in the context of motorsports, which implies that finding the best solutions will require extensive experimentation and refinement. Nevertheless, there have been substantial advancements and enhancements in EV battery technology in recent years. These advancements have led to faster charging times, longer driving ranges and improved overall performance of electric vehicles.
Read the next section to know the future of electric vehicles in motorsports.
The Future of Electric Vehicles in Motorsports
As electric vehicles continue to find footing in motorsports, they're rewriting the rules in terms of performance and safety.
The EV is moving towards becoming a more environmentally friendly product for society.
The future is bound to witness advanced formats of both the vehicles and the events. There will be a substantial increase in electric vehicle competitions such as electric car races, electric motorbike races, and many more.
Nonetheless, the impact of these changes will be felt over time. But with organizers confident that they can acknowledge Electric Vehicles officials satisfied to have the training and support to manage them safely, and competitors and manufacturers keen to embrace the opportunities they represent, it is the right time to throw the weight of the regulatory body behind electric motorsport and embrace a new era in automotive competitions.
Though hardcore motorsport fans may miss the sound of high revving combustion engines and the huge engineering budgets along with the glamor of events such as F1 Grands Prix. However, the popularity of electric motorsport is rapidly growing, especially for younger audiences, with its gamification innovations, audience interactivity, and new racing formats.
On the whole, no one can deny that ecology remains the most prominent reason to back electric drivetrains in motorsports. We can retain all the attractions that make car and motorcycle competition a unique experience without polluting and attracting investment and research in low-carbon technology. Without using fossil fuels, we can accomplish the same adrenaline, controlled risk, and speed in EV racing. But it will require more than eager drivers, teams, and manufacturers to lead the transition.
The reality is that the conversion to ecotechnologies must occur if we want EV racing to continue and grow in the coming years. The forthcoming revolution will lead to resurgence or decline is eventually up to us to decide. So, It's time for both racing enthusiasts and casual fans to embrace electric vehicle technology, as the future of motorsports and our livesdepend on it.