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.
TUNE IN TO TVNZ DUKE TO WATCH LIVE AT 3AM, OR WATCH THE RERUN AT 12:15 SUNDAY.
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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
The inside story of Formula E - Friendly on the planet, fierce on the track
Premieres at Cannes Film Festival at 18:45 on Thursday, May 23 at the Salle 60eme.
'And We Go Green' is a documentary showcasing how competition drives technological development and how the excitement of sport can have a meaningful social impact and alter perceptions of electric vehicles.
Experience the highs, lows and blows of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and uncover why they race in the new feature-length documentary 'And We Go Green.'
Delving deep behind the scenes, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens, Malcolm Venville and Leonardo di Caprio follow the stories of the drivers and highlight the purpose of the all-electric street racing series in the fight against climate change and deadly levels of urban air pollution.
Is BMW still relevant in 2019?
[editorial by Rachelle Tilsley]
The subject of what’s been happening to BMW’s sustainability focus over the past five years, since they released the fully electric i3, is often debated.
With the release of the i3, they had the lead on their competitors as an electromobility pioneer. Then they seemed to fritter that away with a lack of progression, while other manufacturers charged on ahead.
But is that really the case? Let’s take a closer look at BMW.Read more
We're seeing the German "research" recently published in the Brussels Times popping up in media everywhere now. It claims that actually, "Electric Vehicles in Germany Emit More CO2 Than Diesel Ones." This headline alone is enough to convince those, who would dearly love to see electric vehicles fade away like a bad dream after you turn the lights on.
It's unfortunate that the article has been reprinted around the world.
A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.
The Better NZ Trust is republishing the following article so that our stance on the matter is clear. In 2015 the NZ government department, EECA, commissioned a life-cycle analysis of the environmental impact of electric vehicles compared to internal combustion engine vehicles using either petrol or diesel. The (peer-reviewed) report confirmed that EVs are better for the New Zealand environment than the fossil fuel powered vehicles, across the life-cycle of the vehicle as well as while in use. And the situation is only getting better as our energy is getting cleaner, and battery tech is improving. Read that report summary here.
Here's what the rest of the world has to say...Read more
Mitch Wins for NZ and Panasonic Jaguar Racing
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.
Taupo turned on glorious weather for the 2019 Road Trippers.
After the cancellation of the Rotorua Night Market due to inclement weather, the Great EV Road Trip 2019 began at stop 2 – Taupo – on the Colonel Roberts Reserve, right in the heart of the eating quarter of Taupo – and on the waterfront.
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)