The electric car seems ready neither for the road nor for the race track. At this weekend's Formula E chaos race, 15 cars ran out of power on the last lap. They had to cross the finish line at walking speed.
Only 9 out of 24 cars could be scored in Saturday's race in Valencia. The other 15 drivers were informed by their teams on the last lap that they had almost used up the available energy. They therefore had to reduce their speed considerably in order to save energy. This was also the case for Antonio Felix da Costa, who had led the race for long stretches.
Now the teams and the race control are blaming each other. Race expert Daniel Abt assumes that the available energy was throttled too much by the race control after the SafetyCar laps "I can't imagine with the best will in the world that 15 drivers and especially their teams in the background are too stupid to work it out". Since the 2019/20 season, 1 kWh per minute has been deducted from the total energy of 52 kWh available per regulations during SafetyCar phases. This is to avoid full-throttle driving, as the drivers can save energy during the neutralisation phase. Da Costa was probably faster than expected after the last SafetyCar phase. As he crossed the finish line 15 seconds before the chequered flag fell after 45 minutes of racing, another lap had to be driven as well as the usual extra lap. There was not enough energy for this.
Whoever is to blame for the incident, da Costa sees himself and the other drivers as the "joke of the year".
Certainly, the incident shows that there is still some work to be done with e-cars on the road, but also in the race. If racing professionals are already overburdened with their energy management, how can someone who is perhaps less familiar with cars constantly keep an eye on the remaining energy and range of their vehicle? Citizens are unlikely to develop more trust in e-cars in this way.
E-cars therefore need to significantly improve both their technology and their image in order to stand a chance as vehicles of the future and to push the reliable combustion engines off the roads.
After all, the vehicles with their electric motors did not affect the weather-related environmental zone in Valencia. If Formula 1 had started the race in the environmental zone, it might have had to be activated to protect the city's citizens due to the high air pollution.