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E-racing (Part II of II)

As more and more auto manufacturers are pouring cash into electric rides, the larger racing industry has openly questioned whether fully electric racing will eventually take the place of traditional cars. Formula E continues to be the first (and only) fully electric race to catch major media attention. Because of significant changes to electric power trains, new rules however have begun popping up.

For example, in prior E-racing seasons drivers would need to switch cars mid-race because the batteries simply could not last. If you haven’t seen this in play, imagine an auto race where folks simply stop on a dime, exit their vehicles, enter another, and then keep the party going. Needless to say this wasn’t all that well received.

On the positive side, this issue has improved dramatically. Second generation batteries now enable racers to use just one car per race and the longevity of batteries continues to push the limits. In fact, had you attended and E-race just 3 years ago the differences are notable.  

One man who has had his eye on E-racing is a former politician and businessman, Alejandro Agag. Born in Spain and now based in London, Agag participated heavily with local Spanish political parties and later started his own consultancy, working with energy, telecoms and media firms. On the sports side Agag and his partner Flavio Briatore acquired the T.V. rights for Formula One in Spain and he is now in charge of the previously mentioned Formula E Championship.

Agag kickstarted the inaugural season in September 2014 and races have now taken place in London, Moscow, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Miami, Long Beach and many more. He announced last December that he is going to move from CEO to Chairman with the idea of increasing his efforts on commercial partners and host cities relationships. Despite E-racing being a genuine sport, it is still relatively new and as a result 1-to-1 relationships have been critical. Since Agag began to play a more protagonist role, ABB has signed on as has Allianz, Tag Heuer and Heinekin.

This last point is where many feel the future of the sport lies. If you can get sponsors, traditional sponsors at that, to buy in, then you’re in. The same thrill one gets of watching a combustion engine car fly around will occur with an E-car. But unless the money is behind it to bring it to the masses, good luck rolling it out. Agag seems to be winning in this area, and as such the next decade of E-racing indeed looks to challenge traditional racing as the dominant player in the sphere.

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