Video Update: The 2015 FIA Formula E‘s first Long Beach Grand Prix E-Series hooked a new generation with cheers. CarNewsCafe reports that the single-seater electric cars do make noise, as you will be able to see and hear from the next videos we’ll post. Nelson Piquet Jr. won where his father did, 35 years ago.
2015 FIA Formula E Long Beach Grand Prix E-Series
I can’t remember ever not wearing earplugs at a Grand Prix… ever. In fact, I can’t remember ever hearing the tires squeak during the race in a Grand Prix… ever. The FIA Formula E e-series was a new sensory experience for us all and no comparison is possible. Yes, it’s quieter, but it makes noise. While you can hear the electric motor whine at high-speed, it’s the gearing you will hear most along with the tires as they make their way through chicanes and turns.
The first Long Beach 2015 FIA Formula E e-series attracted more people than expected. It was surprising to hear spectators cheering cars whizzing on the straightaway. Although the giant displays were very hard to read, a younger generation was already cheering their favorite drivers in this less than a year old series. The strangest complain we heard, and can relate to was that the “boom-boom” music was out-of-place for this type of series.
One of the car we eagerly expected to see after all these years was the enigmatic Rimac Concept One electric Supercar. Not too many electric vehicles, EV can call themselves Supercars. The Rimac is in a league of its own. 1,088 HP, 0 to 62 MPH in 2.8 Seconds and a whooping 325 Km/h, or 202 MPH. We stepped inside and it truly feels like a supercar.
2015 FIA Formula E’s First Long Beach Festivities, Rush X
The festivities around the 2015 Long Beach Formula E Grand Prix had everything to keep everyone happy. Lightning Motorcycles showed its world record LS-218 next to a new challenger, the Energetica EGO, which we will tell you more about in a later article. Zero Motorcycles showed its new FX and FS, while Southern California Edison displayed a booth and backed a high school electric vehicle training school initiative. Genze offered free rides of its ground breaking Genze 2.0 electric scooter, which we rode and thoroughly liked, as well as the electric e-assist e101 and e102 sport bicycles. They auctioned off an electric bicycle to a lucky Tesla Motors Club of Los Angeles owner.
The Tesla Owners Club of Los Angeles presented Rush X, where we met again with Steve Saleen to find out a little more about the upcoming Model S P85D the company is working on. More to come on that topic. Simpson’s fans were delighted to have Nancy Cartwright, Bart Simpson’s voice on the show who delighted us with a few lines. We caught most of it on tape. Nancy’s enthusiasm and approachability makes her a natural for such occasions.
2015 FIA Formula Long Beach Grand Prix E-Series, The Race
And then, there was the race. The cars started a slow lap behind the BMW i8 Pace Car and finally hit their pace where Nelson Piquet Jr. with the China Racing team ( ) took the lead until the end. 20 Minutes or so into the race and after a few crashes, the drivers swapped cars in an almost early Le Mans style, and were off for another 20+ minutes, 37 laps total of a slightly shorter Grand Prix circuit. It was interesting talking to the drivers about the challenges of keeping a steady speed, while saving energy and batteries from overheating.
In the end, Nelson Piquet Jr. won, where his father did exactly 35 years ago, followed by a tenacious Jean Eric Vergne with the Andretti team and Audi Abt’s Lucas Di Grassi.
All cars are provided by Renault with Williams battery management, the series will open up next year to other manufacturers and hopefully to inductive charging within three years, bypassing the need to change cars.
Please check back for our interviews with Alain Prost, Sam Bird, Jaime Alguersuari, Nick Heidfeld, as well as Mahindra Racing CEO and Team Manager Dilbagh Gill. We will also talk about Qualcomm Halo and the Drayson Racing Technology involvement with inductive charging, Steve Saleen’s next challenge for the EV world and more in the next few days.