Ten years ago, drivers loathed EVs. They were slow, ugly, small and worst of all, they were quiet. They were to race cars as miniature poodles are to wolves. We all just knew gasoline would forever be the fuel of choice for competitive drivers. Fast forward to today. Although EV racing is still unknown to the average driver, it's seriously gaining a foothold. Everything from drag racing to rallying has seen an EV entrant, an EV league or both.
The Dakar Rally is the benchmark course for the most durable, fast vehicles available. It spans 5,600 miles across South America. Often, drivers don't make it to the finishe line but this year an EV called "100% Eco Powered" completed the race. It was the first time a zero-emission vehicle has done it. Although 100% Eco Powered finished in last place, three and a half hours behind the second-to-last place finisher, the completion is a tremendous milestone for EVs. Six independently chargeable batteries and a 100-watt solar panel powered the car's 590 lb-ft of torque through the finish line.
Tesla has remained the foremost luxury EV manufacturer for years, producing cars that reach 60 mph in around 3 seconds. As part of its legacy, the company has announced a zero emissions EV racing championship, in which all drivers will initally race in modified Tesla Model S vehicles. It will not be an endurance race, even though Teslas are rated at nearly 300 miles per charge. Rather, it will showcase the Model S's speed and agility on a 60 km course. Stefan Wilson and vicky Piria are a couple of the drivers who have signed up to race.
Another EV racing championship, which sprung up not long ago, is Formula E. In this league, points are awarded using the standard FIA system. The original FE cars were developed by Renault and McLaren, among others. Since, the organizers have expanded the allowed manufacturers. Some teams have opted to build their own powertrain. Drivers in this championship include Lucas DiGrassi, Sebastien Buemi Nicolas Prost, and Nelson Piquet Jr.
Notably, Formula E hasn't been unnoticed by the media. Motorsport Network has been granted a deal by the PIA, which manages the organization. It may be just a matter of time before we find these races on ESPN or other major networks.
Did you know the Tesla Model S P85D is faster than the Dodge Charger Hellcat in a quarter-mile drag race? Think it's time to get an EV and start racing? Click here to get quotes from all of your local dealers and find the best deal!