The millennials in motorsport and a chance to reduce air pollution

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The millennials in motorsport and a chance to reduce air pollution

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This is not a conspiracy by tree huggers and global warming fanatics. The future is here with us. I was first introduced to Formula E, also known as ABB FIA Formula E Championship, by my brother who is an avid fan of anything on wheels. Formula E reminded me of one particular motorcycle video game that completely runs on electrically charged battery power. The track has electric charge stations to enable the ‘racers’ to charge as they ride. I was always fascinated by this and envisioned cars that could only be powered by electricity. Here we are.

Hardly more than four years old, Formula E is set on the verge of a revolution as the car companies involved redesign race cars which can last longer on the track. Unlike Formula One, Formula E car mechanics can be used on road cars which offers a platform for car companies to experiment live on track and not just in a lab.

Formula E may not have the top speed of Formula One, but this car series is only 4 years old and electric cars is the latest in technology advancement so the future of the series is set to surprise us. The latest model is the Gen2 which is Formula E’s F22-inspired race car. The race car was revealed in March 2018 and has been referred to by the racing community as the ‘Batmobile’.

Through the racing series first four seasons, the battery of the race cars wasn’t able to last a full 45-minute race. And since we have not yet reached a point where we can charge cars with lightning speed, the drivers had to pit and jump into another fully-charged car to complete the second half of the race. With the new ‘Batmobile’, drivers will be able to go a full lap without having to stop and do lightning speed jumps which could sometimes cost the driver and his team the championship. However, there are also plans to allow wireless charging on the move, that would allow cars to drive over a charging point and receive a boost of energy through an electromagnetic transfer of electricity.

According to Formula E, the Gen2 car is clear proof of the advancements in battery and electric motor technology achieved in the space of only four years, which will eventually make its way into everyday electric road cars.

This is a win as we move from less fossil fuel options. It may not go well with petrol heads, but with air pollution in cities on the rise, this is a needed advancement in motor vehicle technology. In 2013, transportation contributed more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into our air. This poses a health risk, especially for urban dwellers.

Air pollution is the fourth-largest threat to human health, behind lifestyle diseases such as high blood pressure, dietary risks and smoking. It is detrimental to our health from an increase of respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis to amplifying the risk of life-threatening conditions like cancer. This burdens our health care system globally with increasing medical costs which eventually cripples families. Up to 30,000 premature deaths occur every year as a result of particulate matter in the air.

With a hopeful future on motor vehicle manufacturing using electricity from renewable sources, all-electric vehicles will produce zero emissions to drive thus create a better environment for all.

Also read: 10 supercars set to reduce pollution caused by fuel-run cars

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Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui
Vicki Wangui is a believer in all things beautiful. A believer in spreading information in regards to environmental awareness. A believer in sharing all that is good in Kenya's natural world. A believer in speaking truth with no boundaries. Do you have a story, photo, experience or message you need to share? Send your work to vicki@nyikasilika.org or vickiwangui26@gmail.com.

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