Environmentally unfriendly as Formula E race runs out of juice

Posted: April 25, 2021 by oldbrew in Batteries, Energy, humour, Travel

Not the latest model

That sinking feeling when your EV wheels stop turning…
– – –
PARIS: Electrically-powered Formula E racing fell flat on Saturday (Apr 24) when 12 of 24 cars taking part in the Valencia Grand Prix ran out of energy and failed to finish, reports Channel News Asia.

On a wet track where collisions were frequent, the safety car was called upon five times.

However, the regulations provide that the level of energy available to the single-seaters is recalculated downwards during such pauses in racing.

Having underestimated the distance of the race (the regulations providing for 45 minutes plus one lap) and therefore the amount of energy needed to complete it, half of the field ground to a halt on the last lap.

Race leader Antonio Felix da Costa of Portugal, in a DS Techeetah, was the most notable victim as Dutch driver Nyck de Vries in a Mercedes overtook him for victory.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” said De Vries who started the race with a five-place grid penalty.

“We were rather conservative (in the management of energy) and that paid off,” said Mercedes team principal Ian James.

Full report here.

  1. Stephen Richards says:

    Brings a new perspective on range anxiety. 🙂

  2. tallbloke says:

    “Da Costa crossed the line seventh, ahead of second-starting Alex Lynn (Mahindra) and pre-event points leader Sam Bird (Jaguar), but all three were also disqualified after the race for energy overuse.”

    Smart meter said no.


  3. Chaswarnertoo says:


  4. MrGrimNasty says:

    “half of the field ground to a halt on the last lap”

    It would be nice if it were true for a gloat about ‘flat batteries’, but it isn’t.

    Most finished/could have, but were disqualified for exceeding the allowed energy consumption, some slowed to try and conserve, others just stopped racing when they reached the same point. See the end of the video and the graphic on the left for allowed (not total in batteries) energy usage remaining/exceeded. It was a technical rules fiasco, not a battery capacity issue.

  5. stpaulchuck says:

    typical result when you get non racers dictating racing rules, what a farce

  6. gds44 says:

    Reblogged this on Gds44's Blog.

  7. oldbrew says:

    They should have called a mandatory stop for a recharge, say 20 minutes 😆

  8. boudicaus says:

    Reblogged this on boudica.us and commented:

    H/T gds44

  9. tom0mason says:

    Formula E – aka Scalextrics for the rich kids

  10. tallbloke says:

    From the speccy:

    I bought an electric car and wish I hadn’t. It seemed a good idea at the time, albeit a costly way of proclaiming my environmental virtuousness. The car cost €44,000, less a €6,000 subsidy courtesy of French taxpayers, the overwhelming majority poorer than me. Fellow villagers are driving those 20-year-old diesel vans that look like garden sheds on wheels.

    I order the car in May 2018. It’s promised in April 2019. ‘No later,’ promises the salesman at the local Hyundai dealer. April comes and goes. No car. I phone the dealership. No explanation. The car finally arrives two months late, with no effort by Hyundai to apologise. But I Iove it. It’s quiet, quick and with the back seats down, practical with plenty of room for the dogs. It does insist on sharply reminding me to keep my hands on the steering wheel, even when they’re on it. And once alarmingly slamming on the brakes for no discernible reason.

    I’ve installed a charger in my driveway so I plug the car in. It works first time! Then the boss turns on the kettle and every fuse in the house trips. The car is chargeable, but only if you don’t cook, wash clothes or turn on the dishwasher at the same time.

    First road trip. Off to the centre of France with the horse-obsessed boss to watch a three-day equestrian event. I consult an app that promises an high-speed charger half way to my destination. We arrive and hunt and ultimately find the charger. It doesn’t work. Range anxiety? More like a panic attack.

    We make it to the next charger on the motorway with the battery practically empty and my marriage in peril. It works! But subsequently, EDF, the French electric utility, simply shuts down its entire motorway network after discovering the chargers are not just unreliable but dangerous. In Britain, meanwhile, the Department for Transport has, I read, granted an exclusive contract to install rapid chargers at motorway service areas to a company glorying in the name Ecotricity. These turn out to be equally unreliable and very costly to use. Social networks are rapidly bombarded with complaints.

    Back in France, after a two-month wait, EDF upgrades my home electricity supply. Rejoice! We can finally cook dinner and charge the car simultaneously. The little Kona is still mostly performing well. It’s fast. I could beat a sports car from a traffic light, except we have none in my corner of La France Profonde. It’s eerily quiet. But much as I attempt to defend my choice, I’m having doubts.

    I meet a British couple in the supermarket car park, down for the summer, loading groceries into their electric Nissan. How was the trip down? I ask. ‘A nightmare’ of broken charging points, they reply, bitterly. A 10-hour trip took 18 hours, with lengthy stops at low-speed chargers, often miles off the highway.

    The Hyundai Kona Electric
    Given the impossibility of driving much farther than the airport with the motorway charging network still shut down, I resign myself to renting cars for trips beyond a limited radius from the house.

    Next, a story appears that a Kona Electric identical to mine has spontaneously combusted in a garage in Montreal, totally destroying the car and the garage itself. The battery, made of lithium, burns for hours. Still no communication from Hyundai, which is said to be investigating, according to Canadian media.

    Soon, Konas are bursting into flames all over the world. Continuing silence from Hyundai other than a disingenuous recall notice for a software update. A morning at the dealership waiting for an update to the battery management software. This consists of reducing the range of the car, although that isn’t explained. But it doesn’t work since recalled Konas are continuing to explode. Meanwhile, a second recall. The cars are not just auto-carbonising but the brakes are apparently susceptible to unpredictable total failure.

    New press reports from Korea say Hyundai finally admits there is a hardware problem with the Kona and it is going to replace the batteries in 80,000 of them. But continuing silence from Hyundai France and it’s the same story across Europe. I read that owners in North America are being warned not to park in the garage. Hundreds have filed a class action demanding compensation.

    Complaining to Hyundai on Twitter provokes a predictable response. Please direct message us so we can assist you. Translation: please stop posting messages in public so we can try to appease you quietly. I decline to play that game.

    Hyundai’s latest stunt is to announce that it’s joined the new Ionity rapid recharge network and will offer a discount to owners. I call Ionity to find out how. They tell me to call my Hyundai dealer. I talk to someone who knows nothing but promises to call me back. I’m still waiting.

    The problem with electric cars is that one must suffer to be a pioneer. It’s possibly like buying a petrol car at the beginning of the 20th century except instead of a man walking in front with a red flag, you need a fire marshal in a diesel with a tow rope.

  11. oldbrew says:

    Electric cars need to be leased not bought, if not avoided altogether. If it all goes wrong they don’t already have all their money.

  12. tallbloke says:

    I didn’t make it down to Valencia, Spain, for the weekend Formula E electric car grand prix. Long trips are more or less out of the question now in my Kona electric car, since Hyundai crippled the range of the battery pack to stop the car from bursting into flames.

    Not that I missed much. On the first day five teams were disqualified for having consumed too much energy, three cars came to a stop on the track, and others limped to the finish as best they could. Formula E superstar Jean-Éric Vergne completed the last lap at an a average speed of just under 20 mph. Slower than my horse. On Sunday, the Grande Finale, most of those who had finally qualified ran out of battery charge without finishing. Jean-Éric Vergne even went as far as to blame the long stretches of straight road on the circuit, saying that electric vehicles simply weren’t cut out for this sort of acceleration: ‘I’m not sure that we should have gone to Valencia for racing because it doesn’t look good.’

    Organisers nevertheless proclaimed the event a great success.

    Formula E is supposed to shine a spotlight on electric motoring as governments everywhere are encouraging motorists to abandon petrol and diesel for the joys of electrons. And this it appears to have done. A spotlight albeit unwittingly revealing. Formula E’s Covid-delayed 2021 season appears thus far to have been a farce from start to finish.

    In Saudi Arabia, in Rome and now in Spain, the series, with its incomprehensible rules, and arbitrary and capricious judging, has been marked by one spectacular fail after another. Perhaps pedal cars might do better.

    None of this surprises me, as an electric car pioneer. I wrote about my Hyundai Kona electric here ten days ago and more than 600 of you have so far been kind enough to leave comments, many of them enlightening and some startling.

    Numerous commentators suggested I was an idiot for having bought this car at all. They make a solid point.

    Others suggested I was evil, proclaiming my environmental virtue driving a car made possible by children mining cobalt in the Congo. This is also a valid point. A polyglot reader noted why Hyundai doesn’t call the Kona a Kona in Portugal. My Portuguese is rusty, but I get it. Others advised me that I should have bought a Tesla. Like the one I saw broken down at Montpellier Airport on Monday, attended by two baffled technicians. Or the Tesla that supposedly drove itself into a tree in America last week, bursting into flames and cremating both occupants.

    In a low blow, Hyundai France has meanwhile blocked me on Twitter.

    Numerous inventive propositions have been advanced by kindly readers. One suggested installing a windmill on the roof of my car, so that it might charge itself. Why hasn’t Elon Musk thought of this? And best of all: why not hang tram wires on the roads, and power the vehicles like dodgem cars? Now this is perhaps the direction Formula E should pursue. And if it works, count me in.

    Jonathan Miller

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