ABB FIA Formula E Championship: Racing for the future

12:37 | 23/03/2019
The roads in Hong Kong got even more exciting with the ABB Formula E race taking place last week, attracting the attention of many fans. This was the 5th of 13 rounds of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. The race has inspired a new generation of people who love speed and the environment.
abb fia formula e championship racing for the future
Formula E is the latest championship recognised by FIA

Not just a race

To strengthen sustainable transport and initiate the future of the electric vehicle industry, ABB has united with Formula E to organise electric car races.

Formula E is the latest championship recognised by Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). This is a championship where participating cars are powered by electric engines, in line with the electric spirit in the name. Each season will start at the end of the year and end in the summer of the next, with a total number of 10-14 rounds.

After four seasons with the first generation cars, from the 2018-2019 season, the championship will move to second generation cars, which look like cars from the future. Used for the next three seasons, this Gen 2 car has twice as much energy storage capacity as the first one. This will help the car achieve high speeds without a mid-race car swap.

The power produced can peak at 250 kW (335 hp), thus, each car will have an extra 50 kW of power compared to first generation races. Each FE car can increase its speed from 225 kmph to over 300 kmph.

The organisers, sponsors, and riders hope to encourage consumers to use more electric cars to protect the environment. One driver shared: “I am here at this race to prove to everyone how useful electric cars are, even as a sport. It is beautiful, fast, and charming, helping to improve people’s lives.”

ABB also said that the Formula E Championship was not just a race of who is the fastest, it is also a race to experience technology, opening a new future to solve environmental problems. “It is not just a race! It is a technological and sustainable development test bed for some of the leading companies in and out of motor racing to address mobility and environmental issues. We believe that electric vehicles represent the future and are the answer to sustainable transportation and fighting climate change. However, we acknowledge that in our push into the electric era and the transition towards low-carbon societies, the power used needs to be low-carbon too,” said an ABB representative.

The concept of sustainability for Formula E is to reduce the vehicles’ footprint as much as possible and have a positive impact on both people and the planet.

Currently, climate change is the biggest challenge for mankind, seriously affecting production, life, and the environment around the world. Impacts include increasing temperatures, rising sea levels causing flooding, saltwater intrusion affecting agriculture, causing great risks to industry and future socioeconomic development. Climate change has and will change global development and security in areas such as energy, water, food, society, and employment.

On December 17, the European Union has ratified a goal to cut down carbon emissions from cars by 37.5 per cent in a decade. The announcement came two days after the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice (Poland) ended.

“In a world of rapid urbanisation, we need solutions to help the cities develop sustainably, in which clean mobility plays an essential role in improving the urban environment. With pioneering technologies for smart city, as well as being the world-leader in electric vehicle charging solutions, ABB has contributed to addressing air quality challenges, traffic congestion, and energy consumption with e-mobility, intelligent infrastructure, and efficient energy consumption. Together with the FIA and the ABB Formula E Championship, we are writing the future of sustainable urban transport,” shared ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer.

The path for Vietnam

In the context of increasingly serious environmental pollution, the development of green technology in the production of cars and motorcycles is the optimal choice to limit fossil fuel consumption and reduce emissions. Vietnam is not outside this trend.

Every year, in Vietnam, transport vehicles emit 6 million tonnes of CO2, 61,000 tonnes of CO, 35,000 tonnes of NO2, 12.0 tonnes of SO2, and over 22.0 tonnes of CmHn. The concentration of harmful substances in the air in big cities exceeds the permitted level many times, particularly SO2, which is 2-3 times higher.

Pham Duc Nghiem, deputy director of the National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialisation Development (Ministry of Science and Technology), said that environmental pollution in urban areas, especially in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, was a challenge as the roads were overloaded by motorbikes and cars. The application of technology to create environmentally friendly transport means, thereby reducing air pollution, is an issue of great importance for the government.

To reduce environmental pollution and promote the development of smart “green vehicle” technology, in 2010 the prime minister issued Decision No.909/QD-TTg approving the “Plan to control emissions of motorbikes participating in traffic in provinces and cities.”

Accordingly, in 2010-2013, the project was implemented in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In 2013-2015, the scope of the project was expanded to cities of level 1 and level 2.

However, “green vehicle” technology has not been strongly researched and developed in Vietnam, while it has been emerging strongly in the world.

According to a 2017 report of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam produced and assembled nearly 3.8 million motorcycles with a high localisation ratio, but most of them are fossil-fuelled with manufacturing technology at an average level. Besides, in 2017 Vietnam imported nearly $446 million of motorcycles and components (in 2020, this is expected to reach $ 890.6 million).

In the context of increasing pollution, along with the development of technology, a fight between gasoline and clean-energy vehicles is gradually coming to light.

Currently, domestic enterprises are gradually changing, replacing, and selecting green technologies in the manufacturing of motorcycles, contributing to jointly solving environmental challenges. In particular, Vinfast has led the development of green technology in vehicle manufacturing by using modern technologies from advanced countries such as Germany and Japan to help users access IoT (Internet of Things) in their own transport means.

According to Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Bui The Duy, with the recent development of a range of smart technologies as well as renewable energy technologies, and new energy storage technologies, the world has formed and created a smart, more environmentally friendly transport system, reducing emissions. The smart traffic trend has spread to developing countries, including Vietnam.

Khuat Viet Hung, deputy chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said that big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with a population of approximately 10 million people, of which over 90 per cent use motorbikes, have the highest rate of motorcycle ownership and use in the world. The development of a transportation system that is free of congestions, safe, efficient, and smart, as well as uses green technology to protect the environment has become a fundamental and urgent solution.

According to the representative of the Ministry of Transport, electric vehicle manufacturing needs four basic technologies: electricity storage, electric machines, converters, and control techniques. When electric vehicles develop, the market of electric batteries, motors, and converters will be extremely important.

As an investor in Vietnam, Dr Brian David Hull, general director of ABB Limited (Vietnam), one of the pioneering groups of technology in the world, pointed out that Vietnam’s urbanisation process has been facing many difficulties and challenges. The rapid pace of urban development often exceeds the capacity to meet the demand for service growth. The capital and time to develop necessary technical and social infrastructure are often limited. In addition, Vietnam also faces other global issues caused by climate change, especially rising sea levels in the Mekong Delta.

Brian affirms that technology plays an important role in urban management. ABB has offered solutions across the entire value chain of technology for urbanisation through ABB Ability – ABB’s digital portfolio with 210 solutions. These 4.0 technologies will be an important infrastructure for smart cities, energy efficiency management for buildings, reducing the rate of clean water loss in water supply networks, and providing secured wireless information platforms.

“We want to bring more technologies to Vietnam and support sustainable urbanisation in general and smart transport in Vietnam in particular,” expressed ABB’s representative.

By Phuong Thu

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