A decade of EV development with Formula E at the cutting edge

Join Formula E

Sign in or create your Formula E account

It's quick, easy and free to sign up

You'll get access to:

  • Helmet

    News. Analysis. Exclusive Features

  • Schedule

    Priority Booking. Early Bird Pricing

  • Trophy

    Competitions. Discounts. Experiences

  • Podium

    Predict. Vote. Win.


You will need to sign in or create a Formula E account.

A decade of EV development with Formula E at the cutting edge

Formula E has been at the cutting edge of EV development since Season 1 back in 2014. It's the Apollo program-like development race to the top step of the podium that drives manufacturers' EVs on the road forward.

Taycan Turbo GT Safety Car

Global EV sales are at an all-time high

Considering there were less than 500,000 electric vehicles sold when the GEN1 car was cutting through the streets, the sales figures for EVs around the world have increased by an astonishing 30 times - to more than 16 million as of 2023. With more low carbon EVs on the streets, the world's fleet is gradually transitioning to lower emissions transport and, in turn, helping to improve the air quality in cities.

The share of new car sales hit 18% EV globally last year according to the IEA and this figure will top 20% in 2024 - a massive leap from the IEA's own estimate that global EV sales would hit just 4% of total share in 2023 when they ran the figures back in 2020. Electric vehicle sales passed the 10m/year mark for the first time in 2022 and less than two years later, annual global EV sales have risen 60% from that landmark. 

READ MORE: The leading manufacturers that formed Formula E and pushed EVs to the next level

The jump comes off the back of major policy announcements such as the US Inflation Reduction Act, which supports green industry and offers subsidies for consumer EV purchases. The EU has introduced similar initiatives this year. China is home to half the EVs on the road globally today and 60% of sales took place there last year and has seen battery electric models hit the same starting prices as their combustion engined equivalents, too.

Governments are increasingly investing in green infrastructure seen as the future out of concern for the environment as well as to reduce dependency on fossil fuels for energy security reasons. That shift will remove some five million barrels of oil a day from use by 2030 according to Reuters, from EV uptake alone.

'Technology is driving adoption'

It's not just a shift in policy that's driving EV adoption, it's the EVs themselves - they're getting better all the time and consumers are loving it.

A recent paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the growth in demand for EVs is due to the appeal of the vehicles themselves, with features and technology catching the eye of buyers - making them too good to pass up.

What does this mean? Well, as ranges improve as EVs get quicker and prove their low-cost maintenance credentials over their ICE equivalents, then the rapid rise in their sales' share should continue.

The study also found that consumers are increasingly finding EVs to be fun to drive in terms of ride and engagment in a way that comparable ICE cars just aren't - instant torque and throttle response, as well as the introduction of more sporting EV offerings are clearly hitting the mark with drivers.

READ MORE: Porsche's new Taycan Turbo GT

What's more encouraging is that this survey was carried out three years ago - before the raft of innovations in range, performance and technology the world's leading automakers - many on the Formula E grid - have since driven. Prices are falling too. EVs relative expense was once consumers' major concern when looking to buy a new vehicle. The cost gap is shrinking, which, again, will drive growth in market share.

To add to this, the simple matter of choice on offer to consumers has exploded in recent years. In 2014, when the lights went out on Formula E's first race start in Beijing, there were fewer than 30 EV models available for purchase accounting for far less than 1% of the total market share of new cars sold at the time. Now, there are more than 600 models in dealerships worldwide.

READ MORE: Formula E's cars and technology

“This is positive news because it’s showing that even when we’re talking about mainstream consumers, they’re still valuing the attributes of all-electric vehicles," said Kate Whitefoot, a co-author of the paper and engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon. “As we continue to see increases in the range of EVs and dropping prices relative to gasoline vehicles, more and more mainstream consumers will choose electric vehicles.”

These immediately tangible factors for a buyer - cost, range, performance and tech versus the comparable ICE vehicle - are all increasingly heading in battery electric' vehicles' favour. It's having a strong influence on consumer preferences, even if they have no other reason to consider an EV like their positive impact on climate and air pollution.

Race to road: Real-world improvements from top-level competition

While Formula E is a spectacle on its own, the championship also serves as a catalyst to develop and hone electric car technology on the streets for real-world use. Racing in the series since Season 5, Nissan has taken its learnings on track and applied them to one of the most popular electric cars around the world - the Nissan Leaf. Since the start of the series in 2014, the Leaf's battery capacity has increased by 181 percent - from 22KWh in 2014 to the current model's 62KWh.

For everyday drivers, the Leaf's range has increased by 184 percent, from 135km in 2014 to 384km, meaning more mileage from a single charge, making EVs a realistic alternative to combustion engined cars for commutes as well as longer journeys.

Over at Jaguar TCS Racing, the British racing outfit has been busy channeling its Formula E learnings into its road car division since it entered the series in 2016, improving real-world driving with increasings in energy efficiency. The team did this through predictive energy optimisation, all informed by Mitch Evans and Nick Cassidy's lift and coast cycles during races.

The next evolution

Capable of accelerating nearly a full second faster than its predecessor – the GEN3 – that was the world’s first race car designed for street racing, GEN3 Evo sets an even higher standard in performance, sustainability, and efficiency.

READ MORE: The history of Formula E's cutting-edge race cars from GEN1-2-3 to GEN3 Evo

The GEN3 Evo, set to hit the Formula E circuit for Season 11, serves as a formidable ambassador for the future of motorsport, embodying cutting-edge advancements to ensure the series and its manufacturers can continue to push the envelope, while extending a commitment to environmental responsibility.

Key technical enhancements include:

  • The quickest accelerating FIA single-seater race car – Capable of 0-60mph in 1.82 seconds (0-100kph in 1.86s), 30% faster than a current F1 car.
  • Faster, stronger, more agile – Performance upgrades providing an estimated 2% performance gain from GEN3, equating to a c.2 secs faster qualifying lap on the Monaco circuit, offering world-class racing on any track.
  • Leaner and meaner – An aggressive new body kit designed to be stronger, more robust and more aerodynamic, delivering closer wheel-to-wheel racing.
  • All-wheel drive (AWD) –A first for a Formula E car, available during qualifying duels, race starts, and ATTACK MODE. This feature maximises acceleration and control, elevating the thrill of critical race moments and intensifying driver rivalries. AWD enhances both performance and strategy, providing more exciting racing for drivers and fans alike.
  • Better grip – Optimised all-weather Hankook iON tyres providing 5-10% more grip, made from 35% recycled and sustainable materials (+9% vs GEN3 spec).

These new additions are specifically designed for faster and closer racing between drivers, giving fans even more on-track action and building on the world-leading specification of the GEN3 car, including:

  • The fastest Formula E car: Top speed of 200mph
  • Regenerative braking: Cars optimise the 600kw regenerative braking capacity to generate nearly 50% of the energy needed for a race, during the race itself.
  • Enhanced performance by software: Race performance upgrades made through software engineering.
  • Most efficient Formula car ever: An electric motor with over 95% efficiency, significantly surpassing the 40% efficiency typical of internal combustion engines.
  • Minimising production footprint: The world’s first net zero carbon race car in the world’s first net zero carbon sport.
  • Sustainable battery development: Suppliers of battery cell minerals selected on ethical and sustainable mining standards to ensure a positive or neutral impact on people and the planet.
  • Lifecycle thinking: Life cycle thinking throughout the car’s construction; second life and recycling for battery cells; recycled carbon fibre and natural materials such as linen integrated into the chassis.
  • Conscientious supply chain: All suppliers held to strict sustainability KPIs, achieving FIA 3* Environmental Accreditation certification by Season 9.
  • Race-to-road transfer: Specific road-relevant areas of the car are opened for development by teams and manufacturers, designed for direct tech transfer to automotive industry.
  • Ultra-fast charging capability: A new technological development still in development, designed to allow a 30sec 600kw high-speed charge for additional energy mid-race.