Electric Racing

I enjoy watching the occasional F1 race and I used to be a fan of NASCAR.  Honestly though, the races are pretty boring.  It’s got very little to do with driving and much more to do with technology.  The team that ekes out a 1/2% performance gain, within the rules will win.  That’s about all there is to it.

Occasionally, F1 will descend into a fuel mileage game and that’s when it starts to become interesting.  The driver and team have to balance performance with economy.  It’s no good being the fastest if you can’t make it to the finish line and it’s no good having plenty of fuel if you finish anything other than first.

Finally, there are those that say electric cars are crap and always will be.

To all of these people, I present…

Electric racing.

Yep, cars with just batteries and motors.  Quiet, fast, economical… racing.  How thrilling it must be to have to constantly recalculate speed and range, while watching the guy behind you get closer and closer.  I’m actually serious, it would be awesome.

Well, F1’s parent organization and the EU are commissioning a group to study the possibility of an electric championship.

Look at it this way, the average F1 car gets about 4 miles per gallon.  It takes about a gallon to complete a 4 mile lap.  You’ve got 56 or so laps.  So, each car has 56 gallons of fuel.  Twenty-two cars per race and you’re hitting over 1200 gallons of gas for about 90 minutes of racing.

(Let’s see, I use about 16 gallons every 2 weeks.  Do 1200 gallons would last me 77 weeks or about a year and quarter.)

The EU is pushing electric cars, with the possibility of banning gas vehicles in cities by 2050.

Jean Todt, president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, is talking about a global electric championship by 2013 (possibly).

That’s pretty… well… electric.

But, wait, it gets better.  The FIA is already several years behind.  You see, the 5th Monaco Alternative Energy Rally just finished.  And Tesla crushed the field for the second year in a row. Beating over 100 other vehicles.

During the first rally, the car went the entire 1000km run on the equivalent of $40 worth of fuel.

The Tesla Roadster is certified by the EU to have a 340 km range (212 miles), but in the 2011 rally, it went over 300 miles on a single charge.

Now, one must keep in mind this isn’t Rally car racing (4-wheel drive monsters tear-assing through forest on narrow dirt roads), this is road rally driving, which is a whole ‘nother animal.  It’s something that I would love to do.

So, electric cars can be fun and exciting.

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