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New FIA sanctioned electric Formula E Series. Should Tesla Motors jump in?

I, like probably many of the people that love the Model S and all that it stands for, were, at some point, avid gas heads. I know I was. I still watch the WRC and F1 series avidly and find them very exciting.

I think there is nothing like competitive racing to help advance the R&D of automotive technologies (KERS technology, now used in all modern EV's, developed from F1 racing not to long ago). There is also the undeniable PR and Global Advertising that comes out of it, there is not a single recognized automotive brand that does not participate in one form or another of Motorsport series (Maybe with the exception of Tesla).

Well, the opportunity for Tesla to be part of this community is now here. The FIA announced recently that it plans to back a fully electric Formula series that will be known as Formula E, it is going to be managed by Formula E holdings Ltd. ( and and they have even confirmed the participation of two important cities for the first season of the series (Rome and Rio de Janeiro) and it looks like London is on the pipeline (

I think that R&D advancements and the publicity that TM could get from its participation on this series would be considerable, specially when you consider that it looks like the investment to participate in this series is negligible at this stage of the series development. Do you guys think Tesla Motors should jump in as one of the founding teams of the series? Please comment. Thank you.

IIRC, there are already a few E-series here and there, and Tesla routinely picks up the top 5 placings or so.

Nice. Didn't know that. I think this is the first high level Formula type format for electric vehicles though. It would be nice to see Tesla getting behind this new series too.

Would you mind sharing the links to the E series that you are talking about. Thanks.

Problem is in regulations and Tesla-type battery power density. You can't get enough power out of the battery that is small enough for the regulations. Tesla can't do F1 using their typical setup, and if they do things differently then it would not be Tesla anymore.

Model S as pace car would be spot on though for that type of race.

WRC-type race could fit better for Tesla (future) cars.

Timo, this is not Formula 1 we are talking about here its a new all electric series called Formula E.

There are no definite regulations for Formula E yet, that is the beauty of this idea, Tesla could get involved right from the get go and could help to taylor the regulations to fit its needs and help promote R&D for new battery chemistries and engines, just like F1 did before, when regulations were more loose. I would only make it so as to have aerodinamics in static development (same chasis for all teams) but give a blank sheet to constructors as far as drivetrains and energy sources is concerned, obviously as long as the car is 100% electric.

I think that is exactly it! Formula E would force the teams to think out of the box and come up with inovative ideas.

It would be fascinating to see who would dare challenge Tesla.

I misspoke; there have been a few one-off races like that, which TM usually dominates, but not organized circuit. Sounds like an inevitable (?) development, with lots of benefits. Have you seen the Drag Racing versions? Not really TM's niche, but ...

Checked it out, looks really nice. I liked the video about the dyno test on the Tesla S.

Here are a couple of links for electric racing cars. The one from Toyota Motorsports on an electric car on the Nurburgring is pretty cool. The other one is from a Formula E prototype racing in Moscow. I would love to see Tesla getting involved in this kind of stuff in the future!

@frmercado, if you talk about FIA regulated Formula E, then that already has rules and regulations, and one of them limits the physical size of the battery. Of course that can change just like F1 rules change every single year, but for now this is quite limited series.

Timo, exactly my point, rules are not set in stone, specially at this stage. This series is not even planned to start until 2014. That's why I think it would be a good idea to join now, early on when it is easier to play around with the regulations. Who better to participate in a series like this than the car company that is on the cutting edge of electric vehicle technology? Tesla could get so much experience from the likes of companies like McLaren and its amazing engineering resources.

It's exciting stuff to see. And it would be good for Tesla Motors to take part in these races. But I do not see them doing that any time soon (because of the money), as their first priority is to start making profits. Maybe in 2020?

The LA race would be a great opportunity for Tesla owners to meet up and show off their cars. I'm sure it won't be too difficult to contact the race organizers and reserve an area for Tesla parking. A hospitality area and owner testimonials are priceless ways to inform and educate the public.

Be great for Tesla tailgate parties. If it gets big enough maybe get on the NASCAR for a yearly race and a little TV exposure.

The only thing though , some large msnufacturers would build cars just to win these races.

With MS' huge "tailgate" storage capacity, the parties could turn quite large and enthusiastic. Bacchanalian, even!


Looks like Renault is ready to jump into the series according to its C.O.O., Carlos Tavares. Hopefully more EV manufacturers will join in, including Tesla.



Yet another reason for TM to somehow participate in Formula E (international media exposure):

"FOX Sports, one of the largest global sports networks, has today (August, 9th 2013) signed a multi-year, international multi-media deal with the FIA Formula E Championship, the world’s first fully-electric car racing series beginning in September 2014."

Be good opportunity to develope battery swapping technology, if it's a requirement for the race. I'd like to see a 30 second or less battery swap. Right now the fastest I've seen is 30-90 seconds. Here's the automatic version by KANDI:

It can even be done pretty fast by hand. See:

However, I think Tesla can best even KANDI's 30 second robotic swap with the right swap design.

In any event watching the e-race cars swap batteries would be almost as interesting as the race.

Tesla needs to be involved. That would bring them to the world stage with class. We can't just have Renault out there.

It's funny that i just caught up on my F1 news, which included few writings on F E and Fox, and this string popped up on page 1.

This could be such a dilemma for EM. On one hand he bought a McLaren. On the other hand, what Tesla needs now is to have its best engineers roll out the best X, Gen III, best operating people to expand manufacturing and service/charging infrastructure, to make the company profitable, and to focus its money on those areas in the next say 5 years. For now, I think the pace car idea is the best compromise. If I were Elon, I'd insist driving its maiden ride :-).

I'm not too worried about timing. Red Bull joined F1 in 2004 and is now 3 time WCC poised to win its 4th. Tesla can make the most ban once Gen III is out and about, for right now and the next few years, the key issue is supply not demand.

If Tesla can make 200+ mile pure BEV at $35k with same kind of look as Model S then key issue will remain supply and not demand forever. :-)

I think Tesla could make Formula E car once it has enough resources to put some effort in building such vehicle without it interfering it's main business. However that can take some time, building a Formula E car requires people that are excellent at what they do and right now Tesla has a lot better things for them to do than that. In Formula 1 money isn't everything, people are (though you can buy people with enough money...).

Elon must be dying to have it happen one day, although I'm sure he understands the need to chew glass in the next half decade. Tesla already exposed the 2011 roadster to Race of the Champions in 2010, driven by the likes of Alan Prost, and the current F1 3-time WDC Sebastian Vettel.

Wish I learned how to post a picture.

Use this HTML:

<img src="URL" width="600">

where URL is the web-hosted image address. (Rt click, Save Image Location).

Thank you, Brian. Here's my first try

If it doesn't work this time, I give up.

Yeah! It worked. Thank you, Brian. It's a picture of Sebastian Vettel (2010, 11, 12 F1 World Driver's Champion) with Tesla Roadster.

I don't think that many resources would need to be allocated to be involved in Formula E. Tesla could supply the "engines" (electric motors) and get money from the teams that want to use its engines. This would also help finance R&D of Tesla’s electric motors department: how to make them lighter, smaller and perform even better under taxing racing conditions.

Motor Racing is NOT charity, there is a lot of money to made. Companies with really big profit margins within the auto industry invest heavily in motorsport racing, not only because of the exposure and advertising value that they get, but also because of the R&D benefits from competing in top tier motorsports; take, for example, Audi in Le Mans, or Ferrari, and Mercedes in F1.

“Ferrari, which was involved in F1 from the very start in 1950, has always moved its technical people easily between the racing and production-car departments. The Maranello headquarters is quite deliberately designed so technological teams are integrated, with steady staff rotation intended to generate fresh ideas. This cross-pollination extends beyond technical expertise, to management skills and an ability to organise teams to work accurately and rapidly together under enormous pressure. People who can operate successfully in the F1 environment are often asked to tackle problems on road cars.” (quote:

Takanobu Ito, Honda Motors CEO: "Formula 1 is about to introduce new regulations that require a downsized engine with a turbocharger and energy recovery systems, which fits better with environmental technologies for mass-production vehicles. As a result, more than ever we can expect more feedback from racing machines to mass-production vehicles and some feedback from mass-production vehicles back to racing machines. As we started to see a better match between the new direction of F1 and the direction of Honda's product development, our young engineers who will shape the future of Honda began expressing their passion to take on the new challenge of Formula 1 racing."

Motorsports have always been the birthplace of technological advancements. TM should get invlolved early in the game if it wants to profit from the great technological testbed for EV tech that Formula E can turn out to be.

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