Sport | 13 June, 2018

Formula E: Speed, environment and technology in Zurich

Cristina Albuja Operational Risk

Adrenaline, speed and technology claimed the streets of Zurich last Sunday, 10 June.  All eyes and every conversation revolved around the latest edition of the Formula E race, making its debut this year in the Swiss financial capital. It’s taken no less than 64 years for this small Alpine country to host an event of this type.

The city centre of Zurich greeted the day completely transformed into a professional racing track. Many of the drivers who took the wheel in these cars which can reach speeds of up to 350km/h had experience of the Formula 1 race.

The race is similar to the Formula 1 championship but the cars run on electricity.

This first edition in Zurich is all thanks to the city’s commitment to the environment, which is every bit as green as the start lights for the race. As was only to be expected, the city residents came out in full force to enjoy the competition, which was on a par with the world’s major races and clearly turned the city into the “Monaco” of Formula E.

Technology, innovation and sustainability are three concepts which the city shares with this championship that was launched as an alternative to the famous Formula 1 race. For many, it’s the future of motor racing, an efficient and clean competition that is committed to protecting the environment and is redefining mobility.

Key features of the race

  • An anti-clockwise circuit 2.46 kilometres long with 11 corners. Drivers reached speeds of up to 220 km/h.
  • The circuit passed right through the city’s financial quarter, very close to the offices of BBVA Switzerland, and 10 teams competed for the title.
  • Lucas di Grassi won the race, while the Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi came in fifth, missing a place on the podium.

Sustainability in Switzerland

Zurich is one of Switzerland’s most iconic cities. Built on the edge of a lake and surrounded by mountains, it leads the ranking of major European cities with the best clean air. Back in 1980, it had very high air pollution levels, but the authorities have been tackling the issue decisively ever since. For example, the city started introducing stricter exhaust emission regulations for vehicles, refurbishing heating systems and retrofitting municipal waste incinerators.

Public transport, pedestrian and bicycle traffic now account for 75% of Zurich’s total, and nearly half of the households in the city no longer have their own car but share one.  Exploiting new digital opportunities, the city authorities can send every resident a text message when ozone and particulate matter exceed thresholds.

According to a recent report on urban mobility, Switzerland is Europe’s fourth largest market in terms of electric vehicles per capita.