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Formula E to bring electric motorsports to Jamsil

July 03,2019
From left: Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Formula E Operations, speaks during a press conference Tuesday held in Jung District, central Seoul. An electric racing car speeds around a corner in December 2017 during a round one competition for the 2017/2018 ABB FIA Formula E Championship held in Hong Kong. [KO JUN-TAE, FORMULA E OPERATIONS]
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship, an electric-powered car racing series, is coming to Korea for the first time next year as it strives to promote eco-friendly vehicles.

The 10th round of the 2019/2020 season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will be held on the streets around Jamsil Stadium in southern Seoul, on May 3 next year.

“I am excited to come to Korea for the first time with the ABB FIA Formula E Championship next year,” said Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Formula E Operations, during a press event in Jung District, central Seoul.

“Korea is leading the electric revolution in the world and that is why we are proud to present it today. On May 3 next year, everyone will arrive in Seoul to celebrate e-mobility.”

Unlike Formula 1, which uses gasoline-powered vehicles, Formula E solely uses electric vehicles. Since its first season kicked off in Beijing in 2014, the competition has seen cutting-edge electric cars designed with input from some of the top racing car brands in the world race down the streets of cities around the world.

For the upcoming season, 22 drivers from 11 global auto companies will compete in 14 races to be held in 12 different cities across four continents. The list of companies includes Audi, Jaguar, Nissan, DS, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

“We race in cities, and Formula 1 races on circuits,” Agag added. “Obviously, Formula 1 is going to be the past. I’m not saying Formula 1 will disappear, but the future of racing and cars is electric.”

According to a report from the Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 57 percent of all passenger-vehicle sales will be electric by 2040. Annual passenger-vehicle sales around the world are expected to rise to 10 million in 2025, 28 million in 2030 and 56 million by 2040.

Formula E Operations said it has specifically chosen Korea for its sixth season as the country, along with neighboring countries China and Japan, are leading the global e-mobility initiative as the three countries supply 83.5 percent of all electric batteries in the world.

At the moment, China has the biggest electric car battery market share, with 40.8 percent, followed by Japan with 31.1 percent and Korea with 11.6 percent.

For that reason, Formula E Operations believes that holding a race in Seoul next year - the Seoul E-Prix 2020 - will be a key moment in sharing its commitment to environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Formula E Operations expects Korea to enjoy more than 400 billion won ($340 million) in economic benefits from the event next year. It projects it will create up to 2,843 jobs and bring in up to 208.2 billion won from ticket sales and tourist activities.

“The so-called ‘golden holiday week’ falls between April 25 and May 5 next year in China, Japan and a number of Asian countries, so we expect many tourists to visit Korea for our event,” said Lee Hee-beom, chairman of Seoul E-Prix 2020, during the press conference.

The former energy minister said Formula E Operations will prepare e-mobility-centered conferences, exhibits and fairs for several days prior to the event to promote the green initiative.

Also during Tuesday’s event, Formula E Operations unveiled for the first time in Korea its newest official racing car, the Gen2.

The Gen2 can reach a maximum of 280 kilometers per hour (174 miles per hour) and go from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour in just 2.8 seconds. Its battery can last 45 minutes on the track, more than twice its predecessor, the Gen1.

“Unlike our previous model, racers do not have to get out of the car in the middle of the race to change vehicles,” Agag added.

BY KO JUN-TAE [ko.juntae@joongang.co.kr]


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