The concrete jungle of Brooklyn, New York has been transformed, ready to host the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. The double header (2-day) finale is back in the Big Apple for the third year running, but next season the finale will be moving to London.
So, for the last time the spectacular Lower Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty frames the waterfront racetrack. But the famous view will be far from the minds of the 22 drivers as they arrive at the penultimate race in the 2018/19 championship series.
It’s been a rollercoaster season, with no clear front-runner emerging until the 9th race, when Jean-Eric Vergne (JEV) racing for Chinese outfit DS Techeetah, began to accumulate podium finishes. Now at the top of the championship standings, he is a healthy 32 points ahead of Lucas di Grassi, in second place, racing for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler.
New Zealand’s own Mitch Evans, racing for Panasonic Jaguar, is third in the standings. Evans also holds the lap record for this track at 1:13.207.
With 58 points still up for grabs, eight drivers still mathematically have a chance of lifting the title. But the general feeling is that it would take a brave punter to bet against JEV, who has won three of the last six races, and is the reigning champion.
The Championship standings before the race.
We are now just three races from the end of the 2018/19 ABB FIA-Formula-E series but today's race, the 2019 Julius Baer Swiss E-Prix, is the final chance for the contenders to win the Voestalpine trophy. Five European E-Prix's contribute to the trophy, which started amongst the ancient ruins of Rome, then Paris, Monaco, Berlin and now coming to a head in Bern.
Best known for Toblerone chocolate, the Swiss City of Bears, Bern, has opened its roads to motorsport for the first time since 1954. It's a city of ups and downs and therefore it's not at all surprising that elevation will be an important component of the 2,750 km E-Prix track. The steep slopes and inclines have never before been seen in Formula E, making this a challenging finale for the 22 cars competing in the European Championship.
As they go to the start line, eight of the 22 drivers are in with a chance to win the trophy, including New Zealand's own Mitch Evans.
"With lots of character, surface and elevation changes, it's a real, hardcore street circuit," says Panasonic Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans. "The downhill section into Turn 3 and 4 is going to be tough. You come in with a lot of speed, so there's no room for error. Most braking zones look quite difficult — that's going to be the scariest for us with the most consequences — I think it's going to be a complete rollercoaster but I'm looking forward to it."
Yes, it's going to be an exciting race, with no clear winner yet. Let's take a closer look at those who are in with a chance.
Favourite: Jean-Eric VERGE
The current Voestalpine leader is 29-year old Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne, racing for DS Techeetah. Vergne won in Monaco and placed third in Berlin. Therefore he only needs a podium finish to clinch the 2019 European Trophy — that is unless Lotterer, di Grassi or Buemi get to climb onto the podium.
With the 2017/18 Championship Title to defend, and 102 points this season, the pressure will be on JEV. The charismatic driver started his motorsport career in karts at the tender age of 4. His long career has included 58 Formula One grand prix. In 2014 he made the switch to Formula-E, joining first Andretti Motorsport, then switching to Virgin Racing and now DS Techeetah. He has raced 53 E-Prix's with 7 wins and 19 podium finishes, making him one of the most experienced electric car drivers in the world.
The challenger - Andre LOTTERER
Despite not achieving a win yet this season, JEV's teammate Lotterer has placed on the podium often enough to be a serious contender. Any podium place could be enough for this German driver to take the trophy home.
Making a name for himself at a young age, 39-year old Lotterer made the switch from fossil fuel racing to electric last season.
The underdog - Mitch EVANS
Don't underestimate the Underdog. Mitch Evans has been in the points on nearly every race this season, including top of the podium in Rome.
Currently placing sixth in the championship series, Mitch is in with a chance. Just 33 points separate him from Championship leader JEV, so clinching the voestalpine European races trophy (with any podium finish) would provide a much-needed lift to Evan’s Championship hopes.
The 24-year old Kiwi driver has entered 34 E-Prix, with his maiden win in Rome, and 2 podium places. This is his third Formula-E series, during which he has remained with British racing outfit Jaguar. Evans started his motorsport career in karts at the age of six and won the NZ Grand Prix at the age of 16. Moving to GP2 in 2013 and aged just 18, he became the youngest driver in the field's history to stand on the podium after finishing third in Sepang, Malaysia.
The comeback – Robin Frijns
After a spectacular win in Paris despite pouring rain and hail, the Dutch driver Frijns has had a sensational return to form in the all-electric series but will it be enough to be crowned king of the voestalpine European races?
The strategist - Lucas di Grassi
One of the undisputed masters of the all-electric street racing series, Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi has once again made up for lost ground in Europe. With a win in Berlin, the Brazilian driver now sits second in the Championship standings behind leader Jean-Eric Vergne. Should di Grassi reach the podium for the second time in the voestalpine European races, the Brazilian has a strong chance of clinching the trophy ahead of his second title challenge in New York City.
The rookie – Oliver Rowland
Rowland doesn't have the depth of experience, but he has managed to outperform his highly-seasoned Nissan e.Dams teammate Sebastien Buemi, who sits behind him tenth in the standings. With two podiums, one after finishing second in Monaco, the rookie will need to slot into the top two places on the podium to be in with a chance of lifting the voestalpine European races trophy ahead of New York.
The master - Sebastien Buemi
Going purely by career wins in Formula E, Nissan e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi is the most successful driver in the history of Formula E with 12 victories to his name. But despite his impressive win rate, the Swiss driver is yet to secure a win in the 2018/19 season. Now, in his local race here in Bern, Buemi will be desperate to top his second-place finish in Berlin and take the voestalpine European races trophy on home turf. To be in with a chance, Buemi will need to make it to the top two steps of the podium at the very least.
The outsider - Stoffel Vandoorne
So far, the 2018/19 Formula E season hasn’t been kind to newcomers HWA Racelab. With 38 points in total, the team sits ninth in the standings, 150 points adrift of leaders DS Techeetah. Despite the team’s overall position, driver Stoffel Vandoorne has enjoyed his first European Formula E campaign, scoring his first and only podium after finishing third in Rome. Nothing short of a win will enable the Belgian driver to lift the voestalpine European trophy here in Bern.
Home race hero Sebastien Buemi is 'confident' of ending his 29-race victory drought while the 'hardcore street circuit' leaves 'no room for error' as the drivers count down the hours until the 2019 Julius Baer Swiss E-Prix kicks off in Bern.
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A Best Buy for a BEV with a Big Asterisk
It’s been a long road for the Nissan Leaf. Introduced in 2011, the Leaf was the first mass-market all-electric vehicle and, despite other EV upstarts making gains, the best-selling electric car in history with more than 450,000 sold worldwide. (ed: including being the most registered EV in New Zealand.) It’s won about every award for green automobiles, including the World Green Car award twice.*
* All-new 2018 Nissan LEAF named "2018 World Green Car" by the World Car Awards.
[Full report from Gary Lieber - Clean Technica - 15 Jun 2019]Read more
WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 5 JUNE 2019
In a world plagued with deadly levels of air pollution, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is more than just an inner-city street racing series. It's a lab for developing and demonstrating the latest and greatest technology in the battle for clean air: the electric car. To celebrate World Environment Day, check out what's being done in each of Formula E's 12 host cities to clean up our climate.
2019 MONACO E-PRIX (RD 9)
VERGNE KEEPS ROWLAND AT BAY AROUND MONACO HARBOUR
2019 ABB FIA Formula E Racing News
2019 PARIS E-PRIX
Frijns Takes First Win in Formula-E after Frantic Race in French Capital
Robin Frijns, racing for Envision Virgin Racing, persevered through tricky weather conditions to cling on to victory in a frantic race on the streets of the French capital.
The automotive world is changing and some commercial entities are quickly recognising the opportunities that this will bring. One of these businesses is Repco New Zealand.
Repco New Zealand is proudly supporting the #LeadingTheCharge 2019 Great EV Road Trip.
"Now in its 5th season, this is a fantastic annual event for Repco to be part of," says Richelle Ashman, Marketing Manager NZ. "Repco recognises Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming a popular choice for New Zealand drivers."
Repco has been providing New Zealanders with what they need to get their vehicle road ready for over 95 years. Repco leads the charge in the automotive parts aftermarket, which makes Repco a fitting partner to the #LeadingTheCharge 2019 Great EV Road Trip.
If you are coming along to a Leading The Charge event in Dunedin, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Auckland and Whangarei, be sure to pick up a Repco voucher to save on your next purchase at you nearest Repco store.
I used my voucher to buy seat covers for my BMW. Thanks Repco.
All-Electric Car Sales In UK Doubled Again In February 2019
Demand for pure electric cars is now higher than supply
Positive news comes from the UK where the plug-in car market expanded in February by 36% to 2,104 at a decent 2.6% market share.
Results are quite encouraging in the “quietest month of the year ahead of crucial March plate change”, as plug-in hybrids managed to note small growth. The serious increase was made by all-electric cars, which moved up by more than 100% for the second month in a row.
- 731 BEVs (up 106% year-over-year)
- 1,373 PHEVs (up 15.4% year-over-year)
It was anybody's game in Marrakesh during the 2nd Race of the 2019 ABB FIA Formula E Series last night.
Attack Activation Zone in the forefront of this image of the Marrakesh Street Track. Drivers need to turn on attack mode and activate it by taking the corner wide passing over the red and blue lines. Attack mode at Marrakesh lasts 4 minutes and gives an extra 25kW power.
New Zealander, Mitch Evans, got off to a great start, winning a practice race and breaking the track record with a time of 1.17.22. While he didn’t get the extra series point that he would have if he’d won fastest lap during the main race, it was enough for him to comfortably make it into the top six for the qualifying races. In these he just managed to retain a spot in the top six and was therefore eligible to compete in the Julius Baer Super Pole shoot out.
From that point on nothing went right for the Panasonic Jaguar team. In the Super Pole race, Evans overshot the braking-point unable to make the corner at turn six and driving off track into the skate way. By the time he got back on track, he trailed a miserable 17+ seconds behind the pole position. Having already qualified in the top six, Evans still retained his third-row starting post alongside BMW i Andretti Motorsport's Alex Sims who made good time but placed 5th in the Super Pole.
Evan's teammate, Brazilian Nelson Piquet Jn was starting in ninth position followed by Mahindra Racing's Jerome d'Ambrosio.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOWRead more