The November 12th;Marrakech Grand Prix, the second race of the 2016-2017 Formula E season, gave ample proof that the line dividing technological challenges and environmental challenges is becoming increasingly blurred.
Morocco's fascinating imperial city, with nearly 350 days of sunshine a year, was the perfect place to reflect on the meaning and the prospects of renewable energy, considering also that in that same week it was the venue of the COP22, the UN Conference on Climate, which saw Enel play a leading role in the many institutional events.
“We want to supply the entire circus with green energy by 2018: it's a real technological challenge and we are set on winning it”
Francesco Venturini, Enel Green Power CEO
On the Moulay El Hassan urban race track
Even the drivers on the track and, in particular, Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.dams), realized how crucial the smart management of resources is. During the first laps on the Moulay El Hassan race track, the current Formula E world champion risked putting his chances of winning the race at risk by using too much energy. His smart & furious driving—actually smarter than furious—and a perfect pit stop allowed the Swiss driver to be the first to cut the finish line in front of the British driver Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing) and the Swedish driver Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra Racing), and to maintain his lead in the championship standings, ahead of the Brazilian driver Lucas di Grassi (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport).
Behind the wheel of a virtual car
Just a short distance away from the finish line, at the Visa eSports Arena, electric race car fans were patiently lined up under the hot Moroccan sun, waiting for their turn to experience the same thrill as the real drivers with the new solar-powered race simulator, developed in collaboration with Enel.
Among others, Alejandro Agag, Formula E CEO, and Francesco Venturini, Enel Green Power CEO, both put themselves to the test behind the wheel of the virtual car. At the end of this friendly challenge, Venturini took stock of Enel's experience with Formula E: “We are engaged in raising the bar of innovation as much as possible, especially in those events that are raced on urban tracks that make it difficult to tap renewable energy. At Enel, we want to supply the entire circus with green energy by 2018: it is a real technological challenge and we are set on winning it.”
“The partnership between Formula E and Enel is of huge strategic importance: Enel shares our vision for the future of energy and the idea of making cities greener,” added Agag.
“Scalable, zero-impact technologies at the service of communities: Enel's commitment to Formula E and to the future of the planet”
The eSports Arena was powered with green energy generated on site by a 5-kWp Enel solar power plant and stored in 12-kWh lithium batteries. The combined system, managed by the team led by Christopher Regan, is one of the projects implemented by Enel to innovate the technology infrastructures of Formula E.
Scalable, zero-impact technology
For instance, the Micro Grid is a model of scalable, zero-impact technology at the service of communities. It is a lightweight, easy-to-transport infrastructure that, when applied in an urban setting, can cover the energy needs of nine households over a year and cut CO2emissions significantly. This small yet sophisticated system marks Enel’s first step toward reaching the goal of cutting the energy consumption of the Formula E championship by 30%.
“A new app will allow measuring electrical consumption on the day of the Grand Prix in real time”
The Marrakech GP was also an opportunity to test another practical application of Enel technology, this time with an entertaining twist. It is a web app that keeps track of consumption during the race in real time: how much power is being used by the paddock, by the media compound, by the hospitality area or by the eVillage? The software provides all the data for the day of the race, as well as interesting information and facts about the event: the teams, the cars, the regenerative braking system and more.
“With Formula E project we are opening our energy to more people and to new technologies, two of the pillars of our Open Power strategy”, explained João Duarte, Head of Brand Strategy and Activation at Enel. “We are thrilled with the opportunity to showcase our advanced energy products and solutions to a global audience, deploying them in the urban context of an electric street racing competition. In this way, the Enel brand is increasingly recognized as a leader in the transition to the future smart city through innovative energy technologies in e- mobility, micro grids, or renewable generation”.
The next Formula E race is scheduled on February 18, 2017, in Buenos Aires. It will be yet another opportunity to keep track of the technological advances made by Enel for Formula E and for the future of the planet.