Berlin, innovation making history

Berlin, innovation making history

Round Nine of the Formula E Championship, which was won by the young driver Daniel Abt, took place on 19 May in the disused airport of Tempelhof and offered two Italian students, winners of the Enel competition The Circuit, the opportunity to observe electric speed up close.

It was a victory for the new generations at the Tempelhof Airport Circuit. The ninth round in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, for which Enel is Official Power Partner, was held at Berlin’s disused airport on 19 May and marked a turning point in the 2017/18 sporting season. The race was won on his home turf by Daniel Abt, the young German driver with the Audi Sport team, who pipped his teammate and the title holder Lucas Di Grassi at the post, while Jean-Eric Vergne came in third and moved ever closer to the Championship title.

Berlin was also the setting for the debut of the #Gen2 car, which will be used in the next Championship season, test driven on the circuit for the occasion by Nico Rosberg, the 2016 Formula One World Champion. Watching from front-row seats were Michele Ferranti and Luca Della Botte, the two young winners of Enel’s The Circuit online competition. This was launched at the Rome E-Prix and tested knowledge of e-mobility and ability in driving a simulator. The two young men were clearly enjoying their prize: the VIP experience at the Berlin round. These three novelties show the growing interest for Formula E, both inside and outside the circuit.


No more stops

A key moment in the competition was the charging stop for the two Audi Sport Team drivers. The difference in operation speeds almost upset the final line-up, but Abt managed to close the 45 laps of the E-Prix with a seven-second advantage. Next season, this kind of risk will be consigned to the past, thanks to the Enel Group: with the use of Enel Superchargers and new batteries for the electric single seaters, which provide energy for the entire competition (today it is still necessary to change car during the race), the final race ranking will depend solely on the driver’s ability and the car’s speed. Another important element is the calculation of consumption studied by the teams, using the data from our mini-grids which are based on smart metering technology, integrated with the energy management systems data that Enel has gathered from each race.


Future engineers in attendance

Michele and Luca, 21-year-old students from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Università degli Studi di Perugia, had vantage positions to follow the developments in electric mobility on the Berlin circuit, under the guidance of Chris Regan, Formula E Project Manager for Enel. Two of the great challenges of this competition are energy storage research and the use of renewable sources for recharging, which the glycerine generators integrated with solar panels already make possible. The results obtained on the circuit assist in directing production for the consumer market.

An outline of the impact of electric mobility was provided in Berlin by Modis, partner of the Formula E Championship and a leader in IT professional solutions. Thanks to the growth in self-driving car sharing, a 66% drop in transport cost per mile is being predicted with the sale of electricity stored in an e-vehicle linked to intelligent grids providing an average annual income of €1,500. These are just some of the advantages of the V2G technology that transforms an e-vehicle into a mobile battery and which has been launched by Enel in various European countries. The two-way charging system allows the car to accumulate energy and also to offload excess quantities, supporting the intelligent interaction of the vehicle with the grid and the stabilisation of power surges. Formula E helps bring these innovations to the attention of the general public because the Championship circuits are almost always on city streets or, where possible, in areas integrated into the urban landscape, such as the disused Tempelhof airport.

The two students visited the technical areas, set up close to the 2.37 km track, and also tested the thrill of competitive driving at the Emotion Club at Tempelhof. In the VIP guest area, several race simulators were available along with other digital games inspired by Formula E. Their immersive experience was completed with a Pit Lane Walk and a tour of the garages.


“It is very satisfying to transmit the knowledge we have developed from Formula E to younger generations, because they understand the transition towards e-mobility with a greater ease and sense of enjoyment. This is a natural evolution for them and already part of a daily life where sustainability and innovation are concrete goals and not value reference points”

Chris Regan, Formula E Project Manager, Enel


Tempelhof, a symbol of innovation

The disused airport of Tempelhof, which was hosting the Berlin E-Prix for the third time, is considered an international symbol of innovation and sustainability. Designed in the 1930s Rationalist style by the architect Ernst Sagebiel, it was the setting for some of history’s earliest and most important flight demonstrations. After the suspension of air traffic in 2008, the original structure was threatened with destruction to make way for construction projects but today, thanks to participative democracy initiatives, it is an event space and recreational area. Most of the 12-square km surface area is now green, offering ample space to frame the speed of the electric single seaters, which can reach speeds of 225 kmh.


“Thanks to Enel, we had a firsthand experience of the Berlin E-Prix. It was a unique opportunity to see the electric vehicles, which represent the future of mobility, up close and to reflect on an important page in the history of innovation”

Michele Ferranti, winner of Enel’s The Circuit competition


The electric single seaters return for the next challenge on 10 June at the Julius Baer Zurich E-Prix. The circuit in the Swiss city is 2.6 km long and it will host the third last of the 12 rounds in the 2017/18 Formula E Championship.