Come September 2014 and the image of electric vehicles as overgrown golf carts will be changed forever. That is when the FIA Formula E Championship will start rolling to 10 cities across the globe from Thailand to Brazil, Italy to Malaysia. “We want people to believe in electric cars. One of the biggest problems EVs face is image,” says Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings, the organizer of the championship. Many people think electric vehicles won’t work for them or will be too slow. People don’t know the truth and we want to show everyone what electric cars can really do. Motorsport also needs to be much more relevant to the challenges currently facing the car industry. It needs to lead this and to help shape perceptions of what is cool and exciting,” he says.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Agag what the mood is like in the teams ahead of the start of the FIA Formula E Championships.
Agag: I’d say it’s very good. So far we have announced four of the 10 teams but we have many more signed waiting to be announced which we will do between now and the end of November. The announcement of our provisional calendar has also been well received by the teams and all our partners. Obviously, we still have a lot of work to do before our first race in Beijing, China, on 20th September 2014 but everyone is very excited and looking forward to putting on a great show.
AI: You had said that you hoped the championship race would change the image of EVs – any progress on this front?
Agag: For sure the main aim of Formula E is to improve the image people currently have of electric cars. At the moment people don’t really perceive them as cool or relevant to them but we want to change all that, using motorsport as the platform. As for the progress, I think the proof is already all around us. When we unveiled our new fully-electric car – the Spark-Renault SRT_01E – at the Frankfurt Motor Show, nearly all the manufacturers around us were also revealing their latest electric offerings. BMW, for example, were taking the wraps of their new i3 – surely a signal as to where the industry is heading.
AI: How much of an impact do you see the Spark Renault SRT_01E having?
Agag: We hope our new car has a great impact. As I said before, there is a perception that electric vehicles are not cool but we want to change that and the images of our new race car – which I think look really cool by the way! – will help change that.
AI: What makes the car’s technology so innovative?
Agag: I think that’s because Spark Racing Technology, who have designed and built the car, has used many of the best names in motorsport to help them. Renault, Williams, McLaren, Dallara and Michelin are all leaders in their field and have produced a fantastic car that I know is going to be a great success