Slide Whistle Chorus: Formula E Makes a Pitstop in NYC

Thinking back to a decade ago when the idea of racing electric vehicles was just a fevered dream of hobbyists content with 40 mile ranges and unhurried acceleration, to now attend a sold-out international motorsports event featuring first rank drivers piloting 250kW racers around city streets is a revelation.  Last weekend, the FIA Formula E circus came to NYC and courtesy of Wallbox, I was fortunate enough to catch Saturday’s round.    Besides the actual races, the E-Village hosted performers, musicians, and dancers along with stands
showcasing the factory EVs from Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.  I was more interested in shooting pics of the design details from the spec Formula E cars sharing the stand but an interesting DHL delivery quadcycle caught my attention as well and will be the subject of a later post.

Wallbox is a Spanish maker of commercial and consumer EV chargers and wants to cross the pond and break into the North American market.  None of their products have been UL certified yet so realistically it may be a year before they’re commercially available, but of the Wallbox products on display, I was most interested in the DC Charger that claims to be “the only bidirectional DC charger designed for home use in the market today.”  It’s V2G and V2H capabilities would be especially useful in the “Powerwall for the track” concept I’ve been kicking about.  Rather than a stationary battery pack for home energy storage, what if it also served as the heart of an SCCA D-Sports (now called P2) racer?  Batteries on a wall, while useful, are not much fun on the weekend.  But when they’re used in a 500kg sports racer  powering out of downhill left hander onto a straight?  Significantly more interesting.  This would lower the cost of enjoying racing and a grid-light lifestyle by about the cost of one battery pack while delivering significantly more utility.  Normally, the economics of racing are gaged against the case of burning stacks of bills for heat in the winter, in which instance this concept has a significantly higher return.   

About Suhas Malghan

This blog documents the design and development of environmentally sustainable machines and humane design practice in general; machines that work for humanity as well on the move as they do sitting still.
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