These are the top 5 electric vehicle races that EV fans should be watching in 2015 (hat tip to Electric Auto Sport!).
For its first season in 2014, Formula E used spec-built race cars as well as spec electric motors, batteries and battery management systems. But for the second year, teams will be allowed to use motors from different manufacturers. The batteries, aerodynamics, suspensions and brakes will remain the same for all cars.
The competition has been furious during the first four races of the inaugural season. A number of drivers with Formula One experience are in the field and passes have been plentiful.
Formula E represents the cutting edge of battery and electric motor technology. This is one venue were racing truly does improve the breed. Expect many of the future advances in electric car technology to come directly from Formula E competition.
If there is one place on a race track where you want torque and plenty of it, it is going up hill. At Pikes Peak, the race course goes uphill for 12.4 miles, making electric motors the perfect power source for this annual “Race to the Clouds.” Last year, Greg Tracy driving a Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution III came within seconds of taking the overall win. Electric racers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th overall.
The Mitsubishi team will be back for this year’s race on June 28 and rumor has it that Japanese driver “Monster” Tajima will bring a car of his own design. There may also be a third serious challenger.
Is this the year an electric car wins at Pikes Peak? Be sure to watch on June 28 to find out.
This new for 2016 competition dares teams of 2 or more to race all the way around the world in 80 days or less while not using one drop of fossil fuel. Teams are free to choose their own means of transportation, but there will be an 80 kilometer qualifying race first and they will have to use the vehicle they qualify with on one leg of the journey. Qualifying times will be added to the the time it takes to circumnavigate the globe in determining the overall winner.
While the actual race won’t kick off until next year, look for announcements about teams, vehicles and the cities the contestants must visit en route during the rest of 2015.
The students at the Delft University of Technology have been developing hydrogen powered fuel cell race cars since 2007. From their initial effort, which was little more than a go kart with a small fuel cell strapped to it, they have progressed to full fledged racing cars with awesome performance.
Their 6th race car develops 190 kW of power (about 255 hp) and weighs a mere 800 lbs. The team’s goal is ambitious. During 2015, it wants to set the outright fastest lap ever at the extremely challenging 20.8 kilometer long Nordscleife or Northern Loop at the Nurburgring. If you are a race car fan, you will remember that is the race track where Nikki Lauda had his appalling, fiery crash as depicted in the movie Rush.
The world’s only long distance (3000 km) race for solar powered cars is held every other year in Australia and is back on for 2015. The defending champions are the team from the Delft University of Technology (yes, the same guys building the fuel cell race car). In fact, they have won the last 5 events in a row.
The 2013 race saw the introduction of the “Cruiser Class” for so-called family cars. Eindhoven University in the Netherlands won that first race with a car so advanced it inspired Tech Crunch to give it the coveted “Crunchies” award. The runner-ups for the award were Apple and SpaceX!
This year’s race will take place Down Under October 18 – 25.