For an afternoon on Wall Street the green colour was not that of the US dollar: it was the clear and bright green of the background to the giant Enel logo hung on the neoclassical façade of the New York Stock Exchange. This colour denotes sustainability, respect for the environment and an ambitious programme for the future. For the second time in seven months, Enel chose the temple of US finance to celebrate a particularly significant event: on this occasion, the Formula E championship, for which the energy multinational is Official Power Partner, due to take place on 15 and 16 July for the very first time on the streets of Brooklyn.
“It represents, above all,” explained Ryan O’Keeffe, director of communications at Enel, “the first ever completely zero impact grand prix in the three-year history of Formula E and, therefore, in the history of motorsport. Together with FE and DHL, we have developed a plan for the offsetting of the entire CO2 footprint through the production of clean energy from one of our wind farms in Mexico: this is an exceptional event worth celebrating.”
For this reason at the strike of four in the afternoon Enel CEO Francesco Starace stepped onto the balcony overlooking the trading floor and, together with Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Formula E, rang the Closing Bell that signals the end to the day’s trading. To the chairman of Enel, Patrizia Grieco, the traditional gavel strike.
Since 1903, the year in which the stock exchange moved to its current home, the sound of the Closing Bell has been rung to conclude the day’s business. However, on this occasion it signalled a beginning: the new generation of electric mobility has finally arrived in the USA and it has done so in its most fascinating form, the futuristic shapes of the Formula E single seat racing cars.
To think that back 1900, when the concept of “zero impact” was unimaginable, the streets of Long Island were the location of an early motor race. The winner that day was a certain A.L. Riker, who travelled at an average of 24 miles per hour. He was at the wheel of an electric car.
Today Formula E vehicles can reach speeds of over 200 km/h with lightning quick acceleration.
“Electric mobility is not only fast and fun, but it is a phenomenon that is gaining a considerable foothold, entering increasingly into our lives thanks to the continuous technological advances being made. FE provides a boost in this direction: the technology that the teams invent in order to win, or that Enel has made available especially for the smart grids at the race track, can be applied to commercial products that, therefore, become more efficient, less expensive and increasingly diffuse among the population”
Francesco Starace, CEO Enel
“The idea that we want to communicate is that we can contribute to solving the problems of the city by combining technological solutions, such as those being tested with Formula E, with those developed by companies such as Enel in the field of energy production from renewables,” explained Alejandro Agag prior to the Closing Bell ceremony. “It was difficult to bring FE to New York but we have made every attempt to do so because this city is an extraordinary stage from which to showcase the idea: the image of our zero impact racing cars flashing past a backdrop of skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty, will be seen all over the world, convincing an increasing number of people that today electric cars are not just ecological, but also beautiful, powerful and cool.”
“The message,” underlined Ryan O’Keeffe, “is also that this is the future and it will arrive sooner than you think. It is no coincidence that important countries such as France, Holland and India have already announced a halt to the sale of cars powered by combustion engines. New York is a city that loves being at the cutting edge, picking up on the latest innovations and creating trends. I will be surprised if the message of Formula E is not received with the utmost enthusiasm with electric mobility making an appearance here very soon.”
Armando Varricchio, the Italian ambassador in Washington attended the Wall Street event, is “proud to see Italy and Enel as symbols of innovation.” In the USA a new interest in electric mobility is gathering pace, not only amongst researchers but also investors. “Enel,” Varricchio said, “is a company that is investing significantly in this field and it will probably be capable of changing the culture of mobility also in the Unites States.”
To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in a film set right here in New York, it’s the future, baby. “And there’s nothing you can do about it.”
For more information read "#EnelFocusOn, New York - Gabe Klein on sustainable mobility".