Seoul E-Prix highlights promise of e-mobility in Asia and sets scene for exciting start to Gen3 era

Last weekend in Seoul marked the final race of an exciting Formula E season and also the end of the Gen2 era. What better opportunity to catch up with the latest on the extraordinary progress of e-mobility in Asia and to look forward to next season and the introduction of a brand new Gen3 car in Formula E.

We gathered a panel of experts at our Race Against Climate Change (RACC) In Conversation event in Seoul, the third edition of the season and part of five RACC events this year. The theme of the panel was to discuss the significance of e-mobility in South Korea and beyond and how Formula E contributes to the journey towards zero emissions. Our host, the presenter and producer Saunders Carmichael-Brown, was joined by Colin Crooks LVO, British ambassador to the Republic of Korea and by Dr Achala Abeysinghe, Asia Director and Head of Programmes, Global Green Growth Institute. The panel was completed by Envision Racing’s own Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director and CTO.

Colin stressed the critical role of transitioning to net zero to combat the climate crisis, and the high priority given to this in South Korea, one of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers. “I think that Korea understands instinctively that net zero is a massive source of economic opportunity,” said Colin. He also highlighted the opportunities for collaboration between South Korea and the UK, which has set one of the world’s most ambitious targets for transitioning to electric cars by 2030. “Just as Korea has world leadership in things like battery technology, UK businesses are very good at producing lightweight materials and advanced design. Bringing the two countries together can be a really powerful combination.”

 

Achala is an expert on legal issues in international climate change negotiations who has worked closely with countries across Asia and has a strong interest in the impact of climate change in developing nations. “E-mobility is an important tool for all ASEAN countries to meet their various goals and targets they have set,” she said. “It is not only about the Paris agreement on emissions but each country and sometimes individual states in each country have set different targets and goals. There are local air quality targets, measures around energy security and transport resiliency, for example.

 

“China is leading the e-mobility uptake but there are a number of other countries that we are working closely with, and which are becoming leaders. I want to mention Singapore and Indonesia, they have e-mobility targets and internal combustion engine phase-out plans.

“India has made strong commitments to scale up e-mobility at a national level as well as at state level. Sri Lanka doesn’t have a national e-mobility policy but the uptake of electric vehicles is quite high.”

Sylvain said that the rapid technological progress of Formula E racing cars since competition began in 2014 provided a template for the pace of change that can be achieved in e-mobility.

“Eight years ago, when Formula E was launched it wasn’t easy, technology-wise,” said Sylvain. “To have a race we needed two cars per driver. But we said this is the starting point; we want to be judged on how quickly we are able to develop these technologies.

“We are now testing the brand-new car which will race next year and again it is a gigantic step forward in performance. A few numbers: in 2014 we started Formula E at 150 Kw of power, we are now at 250 Kw next year the care will have 600 kw of power. Gen 3 will be a very powerful car, but also the car will be smaller and lighter, which shows the speed of innovation in eight years.  Our cars have a total system efficiency of around 95 per cent, so from the current in the battery all the way to the wheel we only lose about five per cent which is incredible.”

“We need a fast transition so we need legislation and regulation with very clear and ambitious targets which are non-negotiable. Then you will find the private sector comes up with the solutions to achieve it.”