6 All-Electric Racing Series to Follow
When we entered the karting industry in 2003, indoor karting was dominated by gas-powered go-karts that spewed noxious fumes, leaving behind cough-inducing exhaust clouds and clothing that smelled like it was doused in gasoline. K1 Speed’s introduction of the all-electric kart was a literal breath of fresh air. As a result, electric go-karts now dominate the indoor karting market.
And so we find the motorsport world undergoing a similar change. With the introduction of several exclusively electric championships the all-electric racing series will soon be commonplace as more and more manufacturers produce all-electric or hybrid engines for their street cars.
What follows is a list of some of the most eye-catching all-electric series that’s either currently racing or will be racing in the near future.
Of course, K1 Speed is also joining this list with the new K1 Speed World Championship – the first all-electric go-kart series in the United States. For more information on the K1 Speed Word Championship, read our page devoted to the subject by clicking HERE.
FIA Formula E Championship
Perhaps the best-known all-electric series, and really the pioneer of the all-electric racing championship, Formula E (FE) has been growing bigger and bigger with every year that passes. While the chassis and battery are all the same for each car, manufacturers have been able to develop their own electric motor, inverter, gearbox and cooling system since the second season. As a result, the series currently counts Audi, Renault and Jaguar amongst its factory teams, with Nissan, BMW, and Mercedes on deck to join in the coming seasons. Famous racing companies McLaren, Williams, Andretti and Penske are also involved in the series in one way or another.
Each car presently has around 250hp (190kw) and can accelerate from 0-60mph in around 3 seconds. The series competes exclusively on street circuits in exotic locations such as Rome, New York, Paris, Zurich, and Berlin (in the 2017-2018 season alone). The series also offers some of the best wheel-to-wheel racing found in any open-wheel championship, and features many drivers who once raced in F1, such as Nelson Piquet, Jr., Jean-Eric Vergne, Sebastian Buemi, and Nick Heidfeld. Another advantage of the series is that the season begins towards the end of the year, when most other racing series have finished or are wrapping up, ensuring that the racing season never truly ends.
Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy
Soon to be a support series for Formula E later this year, this all-electric series will see 20 drivers racing a modified Jaguar I-Pace in 30-minute races. IndyCar and IMSA participant Rahal Letterman Lanigan has officially entered two cars in this SUV-based racing series (the first of its kind), hopefully leading the way for other prominent racing teams to follow suit. The Jaguar I-Pace does 0-60mph in just 4 seconds and can produce 325kw of power. Not bad for a vehicle whose production curb weight that pushes 5,000 pounds.
Electric Production Car Series (EPCS)
While Tesla is a glaring absence from Formula E, that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t have something else up its sleeve. Instead of sponsoring or running a team in FE, Tesla will be providing 20 Model S P100Ds that will be race-prepared and capable of reaching 0-60mph in only 2.1 seconds (even quicker than the current FE cars) for this spec-series. The cars will boast 778 horsepower (585kw) motors and can cover 56 miles on a single charge at racing speed. The car will also be over 1,000 pounds lighter than the production model, and will feature a front splitter and rear wing, meaning it’s cornering should rather sublime. While FE races on street courses, EPCS will run its entire season on purpose-built racing circuits all around the world, which means it’s the first all-electric series to do so. European Le Man Series team SPV Racing is the first announced team to sign up for this exciting new series.
Electric GT Karting Championship
A future support series for a future championship, the Electric GT Karting Championship will be a feeder series for the Electric Production Car Series later this year. Twenty drivers in two categories (one for 13-15 year olds, one for drivers over 15 years old) will hustle the all-electric 50hp (3.2kwh) karts at speeds in excess of 90mph. The ultimate prize will be a future race seat in the EPCS Model S EGT P100D.
What Formula E has offered to Formula One fans is exactly what MotoE is hoping to do for MotoGP fans – an all-electric variant on the popular series. Scheduled to launch in 2019 as a support to MotoGP, the all-electric motorcycle racing series will host five 10-lap races, one at each of the European circuits on the MotoGP calendar. There’ll be 18 identical Energica EgoGP electric sportbikes on track: each MotoGP independent team will receive two bikes, and four bikes will be available for any Moto2 and Moto3 team that decides to enter. Like FE, all you’ll hear is the sound of the bike splitting the air, and the tires screeching which will should make for a unique experience for those used to traditional motorcycle races.
Perhaps the most future-facing series on this list, RoboRace capitalizes on the current hype of autonomous cars, and aims to create the first all-electric autonomous racing series with zero human drivers behind the wheel. The cars are designed by Daniel Simon, who has worked on popular sci-fi movies such as Tron: Legacy, Oblivion, and Captain America, and the CEO is 2016-17 champion FE champion Lucas Di Grassi. All the cars will be the same, so it’ll be down to the coding of the team’s engineers to make the difference. The idea is to have the series race as support for Formula E in addition to the Jaguar I-Pace trophy for a trifecta of all-electric racing delight, however the program is still in testing almost a year past its initial intended debut season of 2016-17.
Which racing series are you most likely to watch? Leave us a comment below!