The Future of Electric Racing

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Photo Courtesy of Formula E via the Associated Press

Formula E burst onto the scene in 2014.  At first, many questioned the success of a racing series that was driven by electric power versus the combustion engine powered by racing fuel.  However, after the 2018 season, the new electric engine racing series has reported a profit of around one million euros.  The profit is a 50% increase from 2017 and reflects a 25% increase from sponsorships.

Most of the fans of the series are younger in age.  For example, 72% of the social media followers for Formula E are under the age of 35.  Its series television audience increased 24% to 411 million with over two-hundred euros in revenues in 2018.  With Liberty Global ($11.96 billion in revenue for 2018) and Discovery Communications ($6.4 billion in revenue for 2016), major telecommunications and media companies, Formula E looks to be around for the long haul.

What is the excitement over electric car racing?

1. Its modern

Something new will always drive attention.  Formula E has actually taken the opposite path, which bodes well for its future.  Its fame has followed its growth.  People have followed the series in increasing numbers likely showing it as a trend versus a fad.  The series newness and excitement will continue its growth as long as a good product follows along.  Tesla has taken many people’s hearts and minds, it does not seem to be much different for Formula E racing with electric cars. 

2. Its green  

Sustainability is a part of corporate culture today.  With increasing regulation and sight on sports, having a sustainable product helps to earn green points.  Formula E does not use fuel in its race cars and so conceivably less resources are used to run the series.  Formula E cars also have the chance to be more efficient and faster than the combustion racing engine, which goes to having a great product for television and social media. 

3. Cost savings?

An interesting question is whether no fuel means less cost because (1) electric engines are currently more expensive to manufacture and purchase and (2) electric engines have batteries that require charging, which requires fuel through generators or some other form of energy. 

Needless to say, hats off to Formula E for starting what is possibly the first electric racing series that has become successful by just its fourth year in existence. 

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