Hundreds of millions of people around the world tune into Formula One racing every year. Now a new take on the popular brand, Formula E, hopes to harness this energy and use it for good.
The second season of Formula E, the world's first fully electric racing series, kicks off at the end of October with the 2015 Beijing ePrix. Formula E proponents have big aspirations for the future of this new endeavor, which features races all around the globe this season. Enthusiasts of the sport hope it will serve as a major technical and cultural boost for the electric vehicle market, impacting the future course of the entire automobile industry.
“The championship has two aims; to change people’s perceptions about electric cars and to be a platform for EV technology," Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag recently told Euronews.com. “Our ultimate goal is that all the cars in the world are electric.”
The hyper-local benefits of Formula E are already being felt by those working on the cars. Peter McCool, technical director for team Amlin Aguri, told Fusion that "it's a very pleasant working environment," adding that "there's none of the noise, fumes, dust, smoke, or smell" associated with other race car events.
The quiet aspect of Formula E racing is especially apparent, acting to broaden the sport's appeal and make it more accessible.
Karun Chandhok, a driver for Mahindra Formula E, told Fusion that there are "no restrictions about doing events in the city" because cars are well below the decibel level to qualify for urban racing.
Former F1 team owner Sir Richard Branson has staked his claim with Formula E, even going as far as saying he thinks there will be a time when the all-electric version will overtake the conventional series.
"It's captured the imagination of the public and in the next two or three years I think it's going to grow as quickly as clean energy generally is," he said earlier this year.
"We're trying to work towards a world that's carbon neutral by 2050," said Branson at a recent Formula E event. "Unless you have sports like this, we'll never get there."
For now, 20 drivers and ten teams will participate in ten races this season in an effort to make Formula E a household name.
This is an episode of "In the World," a series that features the people, places, and organizations across the globe that are on the forefront of the green energy movement.
Michelle Nash isn't good at writing about herself. She runs web series for Fusion and hopes you enjoy the videos as much as she enjoyed making them. Follow her at @hello_michello.
Ari Phillips is a senior editor overseeing Fusion's environmental coverage in the form of Project Earth.
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