Is This Formula E Race Car Cool Enough To Help Sell Electric Vehicles?

How do you make a generation of non-tree-hugging, gasoline purists instead consider electric vehicles? Try racing ’em!

Tesla is making inroads in the United States, even if it still has major obstacles to clear in states like New York and New Jersey. And while electric cars are exploding according to some metrics–one study found sales were up 447.95% in 2013–and with Google’s adorable self-driving vehicles still years away from consumer production, the e-car’s overall slice of the market remains tiny compared to their gas-powered brethren.


So, how do you sell a generation raised on petrol-powered engines on electric machines? You make ’em look cool–maybe, even, by racing them.

About a year from now, on June 27, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile–the governing body behind European auto racing and Formula One–will officially hold a Formula E close-circuit race in London featuring electric race cars, reports Quartz. In addition to representing the pinnacle of auto engineering, Formula E gives electric-car makers a visible platform to showcase their high-tech rides. (While F1 still has yet to break through to mainstream America, it is touted as “the most watched annual sports series in the world” with more than 525 million people watching per season.)

According to an Ernst and Young study, in the next 25 years, Formula E could help move between 52 million and 77 million additional electric vehicles, perhaps galvanizing the industry. Some critics think those projections are optimistic, and racing purists trumpet the superior horsepower of roaring, gas-powered engines.

The Spark-Renault SRT_01E, an electric vehicle built in conjunction between motorsport heavyweights McLaren, Williams, and others, isn’t exactly slow, with the ability to go 0 to 62mph in a mere three seconds and a top speed of 140mph.

It does, however, sound like this:

[h/t: Quartz]

About the author

Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more.