Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa officially welcomed the FIA Formula E Championship to Los Angeles today, on Earth Day, becoming one of 10 global cities to host the world’s first fully electric Formula E race, commencing in 2014.
Formula E is a new FIA championship that brings electric vehicle racing to the people, as city centres around the world play host to an electric energy World Championship designed to promote interest and investment in electric vehicles and sustainable motoring.
Los Angeles was selected to host one of the races by Championship promoters Formula E Holdings in part due to its robust and burgeoning electric vehicle infrastructure, in particular Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) Electric Vehicle Program.
Additional cities already chosen to host races include Miami; London and Rome in Europe; Beijing and Putrajaya in Asia; and Buenos Aires and Rio de Janiero in South America, with two locations to be announced.
“By hosting Formula E Championship races here, we ensure our place as a leader in the charge to generate awareness for electric vehicles and their benefits,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.“ By selecting Los Angeles as the site of their Championship races, Formula E Holdings brings international attention to our City’s electric vehicle infrastructure programs and increased tourism revenue to our City.”
To date, the City has made significant advancements to prepare for and encourage the wider use of electric vehicles. Los Angeles has upgraded or installed 121 public electric vehicle charging stations, streamlined the permitting process necessary to upgrade electrical panels in homes and businesses, and issued rebates for in-home electric charger equipment and installation fees as part of their ‘Charge Up LA’ program.
The Los Angeles Formula E race is planned to take place on city streets in downtown LA although a number of routes are still being considered.
Ten teams with two drivers each will participate in the races, which last approximately one hour using fully electric cars capable of reaching speeds of more than 140mph (220kph) with zero emissions.
As part of the event today, crowds were treated to a display along Hope Street of the Formula E car adorned in an American flag design and driven by ex-Formula 1 racer and official Formula E test driver Lucas di Grassi.[wzslider height=”400″ lightbox=”true”]