Twenty cars racing at over two hundred kilometres per hour competed for the victory on February 18th, for three quarters of an hour, among the skyscrapers of Puerto Madero, in Buenos Aires, within walking distance from Plaza de Mayo and the presidential palace, the famous Casa Rosada. Yet the tourists visiting the central district of the capital of Argentina and who knew nothing about the race, did not notice anything at all because the cars, all electrically powered, made almost noise at all. And the little noise they did make was covered by the strong wind blowing from the Atlantic.
It was the third race of the 2016-2017 season of the Formula E World Championship. The main goal of the initiative was precisely not to leave any trace.
It was not only a day of sport at high speed, with plenty of competition and adrenaline for an afternoon of fun for the Argentine public who had the opportunity to soak up the exciting atmosphere of Formula E in the pit lane, the paddock and the two and a half kilometres of turns and straights of the city circuit set up in a few days along the streets of the residential district. The experience has nothing to envy that of a F1 event (including the names, since Nelson Piquet Jr. and Nicolas Prost, sons of the famous F1 champs Nelson Piquet Sr. and Alain Prost, were among the drivers). Above all, it was a tangible way to spread the idea that electric mobility is not only silent, but also sustainable and clean—and therefore something that improves life— and it has everything it takes to give life to an event in genuine Fast & Furious style.
Better yet, a smart & furious event, because in a Formula E race what you need to win (in Buenos Aires the trophy awarded on the podium by the Country Manager of Enel Argentina, Maurizio Bezzeccheri, went to the Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi, the current world champion, who completed the race at an average speed of over 120 km/h) are not only power and speed, but also the ability to balance both to finish the race with enough charge in the batteries to complete the last lap.
In other words, Formula E wants to change the world of motor sports, and above all wishes to offer a new approach to the driving philosophy and, through it, a recipe to help change the world. As stated by Esteban Guerrieri, the Argentine test driver for Formula E, "if someone would have told me a few years ago that one day I would be driving a car identical and almost as fast as a Formula 1 car, but only electric, I would have laughed. Now, whenever I’m behind the wheel of one of these cars, I feel that I am driving the future."
A substantial part of this recipe is based on technologies developed by Enel, one of the main partners of Formula E, to set up the circuit and ensure that the environmental impact of the championship comes, race after race, as close as possible to zero (a target that Enel has set to reach by 2018). These technologies include the microgrid managed and monitored by smart meters and dedicated software, the solar panels matched with an advanced system for energy storage, and the charging points for electric cars to support the race.
“The partnership with Formula E allows us to test all these solutions on a tough test bench, in extreme conditions: during the Grand Prix, everything must work perfectly and be fast and reliable, with a margin of error reduced to the minimum”
Livio Gallo, Head of Infrastructure & Networks Global Business at ENEL
Gallo added, “The Formula E Grand Prix provides the ideal conditions to fine-tune technologies, develop them as best as possible and dramatically reduce the time to their large-scale application. We are already able to design better electricity grids, more advanced energy distribution systems, batteries that charge more quickly, and more efficient and less expensive electric mobility. And the dream of smart cities, which until a short time ago seemed futuristic, is increasingly at hand."
The Buenos Aires event was particularly significant for Enel, since it was the first to be held in a country where the company has a distribution network serving over 2.5 million customers. And it is precisely for the benefit of the latter that, in the area of the Puerto Madero circuit, Enel set up its large white stand (visited, among others, by the Italian ambassador to Buenos Aires, the Director of Enel Latin America, Luca D'Agnese, and the Energy Ministers of Argentina and Chile), where it invited the public to touch the future - in the form of electric bikes and motorcycles, and innovative energy solutions like the Vehicle 2 Grid technology - which in some cases is already part of the present.