With the official announcement we broke a few hours ago about Long Beach in California hosting the official seventh Formula E race in 2015, the FIA sanctioned race is taking shape. We interviewed Alejandro Aga, Formula E CEO, Mayor Bob Foster, as well as Lucas di Grassi, ex-Formula One driver who will be racing with Formula E about the upcoming event.
Long Beach hosts Formula E in 2015
It makes sense to see the city famed for its street Grand Prix, Long Beach, CA would also host Formula E. A few weeks ago, after the last Grand Prix, we were talking to a few journalist wondering why not have Formula E here next year. Today, we covered the official announcement and we are excited to inform you that the event will also be free.
The Formula E Long Beach session will be held for one day only, with warm up in the morning, qualifying at noon, and the race in the afternoon. We now know each drivers will have two cars for the 55 minute race, and that the track has been slightly modified. Turn 1 won’t be there, but the new layout lends itself to a lot of speed.
Alejandro Agag interview
Alejandro Agag explained the importance of racing in Long Beach and also told us the race would last 55 minutes, each driver having two cars. He explained to the crowd that the cars had enough energy to run on hours, but in a flat out race, 25 minutes is the most we can expect.
As far as battery swapping versus induction, or wireless charging, the latter will happen with Qualcomm Halo, another company I’ve enjoyed interviewing and backing in many articles over the past few years. The company will be providing the inductive charging technology for future races. The reason why battery swapping didn’t make it was because the FIA put a ,ot of safety constraints on the packs. Making them swappable would have weakened the overall structure. More to come on this.
As far as Renault building the first batch of cars, with Williams working on the batteries, Alejandro told us that Formula E will be opened to other manufacturers, which means we should hopefully soon see Ferrari, Audi, Porsche and Mercedes competing.
Mayor Foster interview
Mayor Bob Foster has been a long term advocate of electric vehicles (EV) and we interviewed him six years ago, when he was the first mayor to drive an electric car to work, at least to our knowledge. Since then, Mayor Foster has sold his RAV4 EV and bought a Chevy Volt. The Mayor, who was at the head of Southern California Edison (CSE), will continue to work in the energy industry after his terms are over in a few weeks.
Talking to Lucas di Grassi
We had an interesting talk with Lucas di Grassi about the different types of tires and their constraints with EV racing. He told us the tires don’t have to heat up as much, and Formula E will enjoy a higher tire profile. This makes for tires that should last longer, despite the tremendous torque the electric motors will have. He also alluded that those drivers who weren’t sold on the concept of Formula E two years ago are regretting not getting on-board now. Lucas said Formula E should evolve toward an in-wheel or in-hub motor scheme, which makes perfect sense for traction control.
Lucas also shared his thoughts on the future of Formula E by saying that manufacturers will have to design the racers with batteries in mind. Specifically, this means that the next generation of Formula E cars will be built around the battery pack, which brings another layer of challenge. This is something we are looking forward to.
Check back soon as we will upload more videos and pictures.