Electric racing driving Virgin’s future

The Formula E championship has only just passed the mid-point in its inaugural season, and yet its goal of acting as a proving ground for the technology powering the cars of the future is already close to becoming reality.

Speaking after last weekend’s Miami ePrix, Virgin boss Richard Branson teased that his company may look to rival the likes of Telsa in coming years, declaring that Virgin already has “teams of people” working on the development of electric vehicles.

“You never know, you may find Virgin competing with Telsa in the car business as we do in the space business, we will see what happens,” Branson commented in an interview with Bloomberg.

Virgin Racing Engineering was one of the eight manufacturers announced for the 2016 Formula E season by the FIA in February. As such, they will be focusing on investment and innovation in key areas for future road car technology, notably the powertrain. This includes refining the mechanics of the e-motor, the gearbox and the cooling system to maximise efficiency.

The Formula E cars are already capable of considerable speed from their 200Kw battery-powered motors , accelerating from 0-60mph in just over three seconds, with a top speed of 160mph.

A wide range of household brands are increasingly becoming associated with Formula E, as the sport’s popularity grows amidst a greater consumer demand for electric vehicles and a greater consideration for ecological sustainability in society. Apple is already rumoured to be working an electric car to be launched in 2020.

A report from Ernst & Young estimated that Formula E will generate an additional 65 million electric car sales over the next 25 years. This will save over 900 million tonnes of CO2 in emissions – the equivalent to Italy’s annual emissions over two years.

Is Virgin’s announcement a welcome one, and which brands would you like to see coming into Formula E in coming seasons? Please leave your comments below.

Branson Formula E

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