Being a newbie to electric car motorsport I’m keen to find out the appeal that this niche offers, apart from the novelty value. If you read my earlier blog post about the electric car success at the 2016 Dakar rally, my new found interest into this realm was clear to see. So far, I have only paid attention to electric rally cars at the Dakar and the electric motorbikes racing at the Isle of Man TT. Here I take a look for the first time at electric cars racing in the Formula E championship, with last weekend’s racing taking place in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I must admit I was very impressed at what I saw for my first Formula E race at Buenos Aires. These things are quick. In fact at times I totally forgot I was watching a relatively new form of circuit car racing with these blistering quick electric cars appearing as quick as Forumla 1 racing cars. Of course they’re not, but they’re not as far off as I expected. When you consider the championship only started a little over two years ago, these are some serious machines. The massive amounts of torque these electric motors generate never cease to amaze me, and remind me of my days playing around with radio controlled cars where the power was just instant.
Clearly one of the challenges with such immense torque is maintaining grip, especially from standstill with seemingly all cars spinning their wheels from the off. It’s great to hear the screeching of tyres that are being pushed to the absolute limit of their grip on every corner, adding to the excitement of watching motor racing.
So electric cars are not going to be ear shattering roaring beasts, like their combustion cousins. That I expected from the outset. But what does that leave for my audial enjoyment? As it turns out, plenty. Before watching an ‘E’ race I would have pre-judged that these cars were going to sound really quiet with a weak whiney whimpy sound and a lagging performance to match.
However, I soon realised these were serious race machines with a soundtrack that complimented them perfectly. The extreme hypo squealing motors fitted their seemingly endless power delivery perfectly well. And because their volume was not overwhleming my ears audio range, I could hear and appreciate the sound of the cars connection to the circuit. For the first time I could hear the loss of traction between the track and tyres through my television on every corner. This was a treat usually only reserved to the track-side spectator. They even sound similar to the original generation of Formula 1 cars (which I personally prefer). I would go so far as to say they sound more like race cars compared to the the current generation of Formula 1 cars, but that’s just my personal opinion. Furthermore, I was surprised to learn that there was not just a single sound for all cars involved, with a noticeable difference between the eight powertrains, inverters and gearboxes options now available. The following video demonstrates this very well.
The Buenos Aires ePrix took place over the past weekend. The first corner hairpin left seemed to come up before I could fully digest what I was seeing. All cars were well grouped with little gap for each other to negotiate the tight bend, and as soon as they were round, they were back to a quick pace without delay. Pole position setter Sam Bird lead from the off, closely followed by Nico Prost. Without the best package for the job, a well planned strategy was executed to perfection, ultimately earning Bird the race win. Although Prost experienced technical issues forcing a car swap, Bird was far from handed the race win, with an aggressive and very fast looking Sebastien Buemi finding himself close behind the leader in the final laps of the race. The DS Virgin driver was forced to take a strong defensive stance towards the end, even though he worked hard to save on energy, with Buemi's blistering pace bringing with it an exciting end of race battle for the win. Bird was clearly satisfied with his performance deeming it the hardest win for him so far.
With electric cars becoming more desirable offering better performance, reliablity and lower running and maintenance costs, it's a worthy option to consider when looking to make your next car purchase. Also more car manufacturers are offering excellent alternatives so why not check them out.
At Creditplus we're more than happy to assist you in making the jump and will even help you find the right car for you. For more info visit the Creditplus website.