Adelaide looks to host electric car race

By / 1st of June, 2016
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AN AUSTRALIAN city is contemplating hosting an electric car race to complement its other major sporting events as well as its push for carbon neutrality.

Martin Haese, the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, South Australia, says the international, electric-car motorsports series Formula E would be "a good fit for South Australia".

The first FIA Formula E Championship was launched with all-electric car races in 10 cities including Beijing, Buenos Aires, Moscow and London in 2014.

Haese told InDaily attracting the car race to the established Adelaide street circuit would be an “exciting” prospect.

Adelaide already hosts an Australian V8 Supercar race, the Clipsal 500, through the streets of the city and into the surrounding parklands each March. The city is also home to the Tour Down Under UCI cycling race each January.

The street circuit also hosted the Australian Formula One Grand Prix from 1985 to 1995.

“Adelaide does a tonne of really good motoring events,” said Haese, who is a former chairman of the annual Bay to Birdwood vintage car show.

“On the surface of it, [Formula E] looks like a really good fit for South Australia.

“Does it sound really exciting? Yes it does.”

Haese said the race would fit with the city council’s “smart city, sustainable” strategic objectives.

He said he expected the nascent international motorsport to grow, and that its expansion could be a boon for electric car technology.

“I think it’ll grow very fast,” said Haese.

“Formula One technology makes its way ultimately into mainstream automotives … you could see how that could happen here [with electric racing cars].”

The Adelaide City Council and the South Australian Government are working together to establish Adelaide as the world’s first carbon neutral city.

The partnership aims to achieve carbon neutrality, drive economic opportunities and transform Adelaide into a sustainable 21st Century city.

Between 2007 and 2013, the City of Adelaide reduced its carbon emissions by 19 per cent, while Gross Regional Product increased by more than $4 million.

Last year South Australia was also the first Australian state to allow driverless cars to be tested on public roads, which was followed by Volvo testing its automated car during an international conference on driverless cars in Adelaide in November 2015.

The testing was part of independent road research agency ARRB’s Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative.

ARRB Managing Director Gerard Walton said automated vehicles were a short-term reality that Australia needed to be prepared for.

“The South Australian Government has been quick to recognise this,” he said.

“ARRB will establish how driverless technology needs to be manufactured and introduced for uniquely Australian driving behaviour, our climate and road conditions, including what this means for Australia’s national road infrastructure, markings, surfaces and roadside signage.”

Volvo tested its cars in conjunction with Flinders University, Carnegie Mellon University, the RAA and Cohda Wireless.

Former Adelaide City Council candidate Valdis Dunis, who proposed the idea to Haese, said Adelaide could be an appealing location for Formula E because of its proximity to Asia and the layout of the city.

He said Sydney, Surfer’s Paradise and Bangkok were clear candidates to host a leg of the 2017 championship, but Adelaide should also enter the race for inclusion.

“The key thing about electric cars … is nothing can beat them for acceleration, so they aim for short sharp turns,” Dunis said.

“That’s where it fits very well with Adelaide – it’s a perfect match.

“When Adelaide wants to be smart, green, innovative, creative… Formula E fits right into that.”

Dunis said Formula E boasted almost non-existent vehicle noise and cheaper entry than other car races.