EU approaches FIA over setting-up of electric car Formula 1 championships - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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EU approaches FIA over setting-up of electric car Formula 1 championships

Monday, 4 April 2011
Europe - part of the 2011 Formula 1 poster series by PJ Tierney (Photo: have always been leading figures in the motor sport, and as the new Formula 1 calendar kicks off at the weekend, the Financial Times this morning carries a story ('EU seeks F1 buzz for electric Grand Prix') that the European Commission has asked the Formula One's governing body to set up a championship racing series for electric cars held at the major circuits used for current Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The idea, which the report reveals has been discussed by the European Industry and Entrepreneurship Commissioner Antonio Tajani and the President of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) Jean Todt, is an attempt to increase "public awareness and excitement about new technology vehicles".

According to the paper, Mr Tajani, who is pushing member states to increase the adoption of electric cars said "one of the priorities of my mandate is to give a concrete start to the ultimate conversion of the European car industry".

We want as soon as possible to have new categories with new energy,” Mr Todt said, adding that the first season for electric car racing could take place as soon as 2013.

The European Union is keen to promote greater usage of electric vehicles - the Green Car Initiative has been included in the European Economic Recovery Plan, around €50m has been set aside by the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport for electric vehicles and related infrastructure, and the 27 EU leaders have agreed to develop a unified system for recharging electric cars for implementation this year.

With safety in the forefront of their minds, the Commission is expected to shortly make it compulsory that electric cars produce artificial noises when running as many models to date are very silent when in motion and so can be dangerous to pedestrians and other road users.

That said, don’t expect to see hybrid engines in Formula 1 cars in the near future, Mr Todt is reportedly already meeting fierce resistance from Bernie Ecclestone, F1’s chief, over such plans from the 2013 F1 season.

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