Seeing daily from his Paris office windows, the large huge number of petrol-fueled vehicles fighting for space in the busy city, president of motorsport’s governing body and former rally driver, Jean Todt got a vision for the future of motor racing — the world’s first championship for electric cars.
“We talk a lot about pollution, CO2, climate change, and we have to take that into consideration when we discuss regulations for ongoing championships,” Todt told CNN.
“I thought it was important to create a specific series that could be adapted to the needs of the cities because we need to increase the use of electric cars in our cities.
“That’s why it was a great combination to find the biggest cities in the world, who are climbing on to the use of electric cars, and to implement a single-seater category with electric power.”
Lower emissions and running costs make electric vehicles (EVs) — which have a range of between 100 (62m) and 480 km (298m) according to the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook report — perfect for city living. There were 665,000 passenger EVs on the road worldwide in 2014, with numbers rising all the time.
After dedicated work, Todt’s vision for an electric championship to help market EVs was realized with the inaugural Formula E race in the Chinese captial Beijing — a city with regularly reported “unhealthy” levels of pollution partly blamed on gas-guzzling cars — in September 2014.
Formula E is now into its second season and its success has seen metropolises Mexico City and Paris join the calendar in 2016.