Racing Ahead: The Electric Motorsport Series to Watch

Racing series aren’t just the pinnacle of automotive technology, they’re also a great marketing tool for manufacturers. Bob Tasca, American Ford dealer, had a saying, “win on Sunday, sell on Monday”. So, if electric race series started becoming more popular and competitive, would we see EV adoption reach new highs?

Below are the electric race series you can watch at the moment, and the ones to look forward to in the future.

Current Electric Race Series

Formula E is the top level electric only race series at the moment and governed by the FIA. The inaugural race was held in Beijing in 2014. Right now, Formula E cars are no match for their gas powered counterparts in Formula 1, as they’re heavier and underpowered.

Although they’re no match, you wouldn’t call them slow. A sub 3-second 0-62 mph and a top speed of 140 mph means Formula E series is still an entertaining watch. But, as more manufacturers join the series and develop the cars, the performance figures are expected to rise significantly.

Open-Category Series

Since electric vehicles are still, relatively, in the early stages of development, there aren’t many dedicated race series. Open-category series have provided a stage for electric vehicles to compete against the very best internal combustion engined vehicles.

Isle of Man TT Zero

The Isle of Man TT Zero category has been one of the TT’s annual highlights since its introduction in 2010. Since then, the record average speed in the category has risen from 96.8 mph to 119.3 mph in 2015. It’s still a bit shy of the overall average speed of 133.962 mph, but shows the electric class is making serious strides.

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has been running for over 100 years. Last year the e0 P100 electric supercar tackled the 12.4-mile hill climb. Recording a time of 8:57.118, the e0 P100 is the second fastest car to ever climb Pikes Peak, electric or otherwise.

Paris-Dakar Rally

In 2017 the Acciona electric rally car took part in the 37th Dakar Rally. The Acciona, powered by a 220kW motor, completed the first 175 km section in under 2.5 hours. Unfortunately, a navigation system failure meant the Acciona didn’t make it past the first round.

The Acciona team are adamant they’ll be back to compete in the 2018 Dakar Rally.

Future Race Series

EVs usually compete in open-class series, so it’s great to see a few dedicated electric race series coming our way. In August 2017, the Electric GT will start, using modified versions of Tesla’s P100 D. In 2018, we’re going to see a few dirty EVs, as the Global Rallycross Championship is adding an electric series.

More development from manufacturers could mean we start to see EVs not just competing with their gas counterparts, but better them. This could lead to a shift in the way a lot of people view electric vehicles.

By Robert Bacon
Updated: March 28, 2017