Formula E: new season kickoff for electric single-seaters
On October 9 in Hong Kong a new season of Formula E, the world championship for electric racing cars, is starting. Enel’s technologies provide every grand prix with clean energy and are turning the street circuit areas into smart cities.
At the starting grid of the first 2016-2017 Grand Prix, Enel - global power partner of the race - will be alongside the 20 drivers of the 10 competing teams. After Hong Kong, the ‘circus’ of these next-generation cars will visit major capitals and symbolic locations of racing competitions. The season includes 12 ePrix in street circuits including Mexico City, Monte Carlo, Berlin and New York.
Once again, Enel is in pole position in the championship: we are going to make each event fully carbon neutral, install smart digital technologies for circuit consumption monitoring and make sure that single-seaters, boxes and tracks are all powered by renewable energy.
We are bringing cutting-edge technology to Hong Kong, developed at Enel especially for Formula E. We tested the traditional smart meter in London, and since then we have been working to overcome several caveats of the residential solution. In particular, our newly created system can collect a greater amount of data for designing our micro-grid and will improve the event’s energy performance. It also simplifies the installation with a plug-and-play system and communicates in real time with the Energy Management software under different connectivity conditions (wi-fi/cable).
In the heart of the city with no environmental impact
The Hong Kong ePrix is set in the breathtaking surroundings of Victoria Harbour, a street circuit that winds between the skyscrapers of the International Finance Centre. Formula E tackles the great challenge of organising a race for electric single-seaters and doing it in the heart of the city without interfering with the electricity system or producing any environmental impact. In other words, the thrills of Formula 1 with none of the exhaust emissions.
The installations for the 2016-2017 ePrix include 21 smart meters, solar panels to power the whole Formula E racing area, an energy storage system, and five recharging stations for team fleets, as well as public buses and cars for setting up the circuit. All of them are monitored by the Energy Management System (EMS), the advanced software for network control and management already used by Enel at Expo 2015.
“We have conceived a fully digitised next-generation micro-grid for Formula E that will provide clean energy to every single grand prix”
It is estimated that the digital system and smart infrastructure will reduce the Hong Kong two-day race’s electricity consumption by 20%, that is 7 MWh, equivalent to the yearly energy needs of four inhabitants of the Asian megacity.
Around the Formula E circuits, we are building on a small scale – though not so small, considering that the areas of the ePrix host not only the circuit and the boxes, but also stands, villages and fan zones for thousands of spectators – truly smart cities, with solutions aimed at making the cities of the future more sustainable and livable.
An international racing team
Just like the competing teams, we also have a ‘racing team.’ It is made up of very diverse and specific professionals and types of expertise, needed to create that smart little gem that takes shape at each race.
“An Enel team made up of 30 people has been working for the past year on smart solutions for Formula E: five work teams operating in Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom”
In Hong Kong four members of the Enel team will follow the ePrix from the boxes during the three days of warming up, qualifying and races. The solutions, equipment and software we have developed will be installed by a special Formula E staff, directly supported on-site by our technology team.
Racing with smart technologies and innovation
The green version of Formula 1, which the FIA launched in 2012, has nothing to envy in the premier class, which for over half a century has been the setting challenges for legendary teams like Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes.
“Automotive companies like Audi, Jaguar and Renault, drivers like Sebastien Buemi and Nick Heidfeld, well known also by Formula 1 fans, and sons of racers like Nico Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr are competing”
It is not by chance that Mercedes, which dominated the latest Formula 1 Constructors’ Championships, recently optioned its entry into Formula E for the 2018-2019 season. In the ePrix, smart technologies and innovation race at 200 km per hour into the future, anticipating and testing the best next-generation solutions for tomorrow’s electric mobility.
Enel’s Maranello and the city of the future
Just like Maranello for Ferrari, or Woking for McLaren, we also have our headquarters, where we conceive and test the solutions created for Formula E.
“The system we have set up especially for the ePrix was created at the Milan premises of CESI, one of Enel’s historic innovation labs”
The micro-grid for Formula E was set up at the same location where we conceived and developed the electronic meter that is presently used in millions of homes across the world, from Europe to Latin America.
It is here that in the early 2000s Enel’s smart metering project was created, we are now testing our smart solutions for the ePrix, incubators of innovations set to change the face of our cities and of urban mobility.