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  • Writer's picturetony reardon

A history of Electric Vehicles in motorsport.

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

The history of electric vehicles (EVs) in motor racing dates back over a century, but the modern era of EV racing began in the 1990s with the development of electric-powered go-karts and Formula Student racing cars by university engineering teams. Here is a more detailed overview of the history of EVs in motor racing:





When did people start racing EV's?


Electric vehicles have been used in motor racing since the early 1900s, when EVs were a common sight on the roads alongside gasoline-powered cars. In 1900, the first ever automobile race in the United States was held in which EVs and gasoline-powered vehicles both competed. Electric cars actually won the first two races held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909 and 1910.


Sustainability in motor racing.


In the 1990s, universities began building electric-powered go-karts and Formula Student racing cars as a way to promote sustainable transportation and explore the possibilities of EV technology. These vehicles were not initially designed for competitive racing, but they laid the groundwork for the modern era of EV racing.


In 2000, the TTXGP (Time Trials Xtreme Grand Prix) was launched as the first electric motorcycle racing series. The series began with an exhibition race held on the Isle of Man TT course in 2009, and later expanded to include races in North America and Europe.


In 2014, the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) launched the Formula E Championship, the world's first fully-electric single-seater racing series. The series features cars with a maximum power output of 250 kW (equivalent to approximately 335 horsepower) and a top speed of 280 km/h (174 mph).


Other electric racing series have since emerged, including the Electric GT Championship, which features Tesla Model S electric cars, and the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, which features Jaguar's first all-electric vehicle, the I-PACE SUV.


Who should consider racing EVs?


EV racing has several benefits, including promoting the development of EV technology, raising awareness about the potential of sustainable transportation, and demonstrating the capabilities of electric motors and batteries in high-performance applications. Additionally, EV racing can be quieter and emit less pollution than traditional gasoline-powered racing, which can make it more environmentally friendly and sustainable.


Overall, the history of EVs in motor racing has been marked by innovation and progress, and the growth of EV racing series is likely to continue in the future as EV technology becomes more advanced and widespread.

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