Sunday, while Richard Branson was blasting into space, 12 teams of 24 drivers in 24 electric racing cars competed in the 11th round of the 2021 ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
The international racing series for fully electric single-seater race cars returned to the 1.42-mile course at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in the Red Hook neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City for the fifth time. Now in its eighth season, much has changed since GreenBiz covered the inaugural event in 2017. For example, since 2018, the 45-minute race has been completed in a single car, rather than drivers changing to a second car halfway through the race due to limited battery range. Manufacturers taking part in this season include BMW and Jaguar, whose drivers both captured checkered flags over the weekend (in rounds 10 and 11, respectively).
When I was invited to Brooklyn to cover this year’s event, my first thought was that it seemed like a really cool thing to cover. I don’t know much (rather, anything) about racing, but looking into the event inspired three main questions I wanted answered, including why I thought something I know so little about sounded, well, sexy. Although I didn’t attend the event in person, I was able to get some time during press day Friday with Theodor Swedjemark, chief communications and sustainability officer with ABB.
I wasn’t very familiar with the company at first introduction, but the name was instantly recognizable — and not just because it is the title sponsor of the race. ABB provides 40 percent of the DC fast chargers in the U.S. today. Beyond electric vehicles, it is electrifying marine transport in the U.S. in New York and Washington state.