Buckle up — one of the fastest (and quietest) electric car races in the world is coming back to Canada after a five-year hiatus since the 2017 Montreal double-header
Formula E is getting a chance at a second Canadian tenure after Vancouver City Council approved in a 9-1 vote to bring the electric car race to the False Creek area in July 2022. Under the terms of the proposal, the city would host Formula E — known officially as the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship — for three years.
Council voted on the motion, which reads, in part: “Affirming support for a Formula E world championship event including a conference focusing on climate change and sustainability, musical and cultural event and the Canadian round of an electric vehicle race.”
Formula E’s CEO is Jaime Reigle, a Canadian originally hailing from Montreal. He has a vested interested in bringing Formula E back to his home country and reportedly flew to Vancouver in February to be personally involved in the negotiations.
Formula E high on Canadian potential
“When we think about where we want to race, we want them to be big end markets for our manufacturing partners and to have passionate fans who understand the sport but appreciate why we’re different to other motorsport,” said Reigle in an interview in January.
“Canada actually features quite high because it’s known to be a passionate market for sports fans. There’s a good understanding of motorsport, whether it’s F1 in Quebec or IndyCar in Toronto and Vancouver.”
The first Formula E event in Canada was held in Montreal in July 2017, with two back-to-back races. Montreal ended up cancelling the 2018 Formula E race citing financial overruns. Formula E released a statement at the time saying it was “surprised and disappointed.”
Formula E’s partner for promoting their Vancouver race is One Stop Strategy Group — a boutique project management firm out of Montreal whose previous credits include launching the 2019 Bern E-Prix.
The company was originally courted by Formula E in its desire to establish a Canadian stop on the tour. The group’s consultants, in turn, approached Vancouver two years ago.
“We were approached by Formula E to look for a city to host a race in Canada. We decided Vancouver was the best fit,” said Matthew Carter, CEO of OSS Group, during the council meeting.
Event model a unique concept
“The three components with the business conference, the concerts, and the race is very unique. It’s a unique concept even to Formula E, and it’s a model we hope to showcase in Vancouver and to prove that the concept works. I’m hoping that this will become the jewel, Formula E’s crown, and they’ll take this business model to other cities around the world.”
OSS’s proposal to Vancouver council includes the specs of the race. Those details include how long city streets will be closed (48 hours), how many public streets will be required (56 per cent less than were needed for the city’s last Molson Indy race in 2004), and the sound level of the e-Prix event (65dB(A) compared to 140dB(A) for an Indy event).
The materials go on to cite the specifics of the event, which includes “a two-day Creative Business Conference focused on climate and sustainability, two music concerts, and a one-day electric vehicle race” and noting how the event could “generate significant economic benefit to the city and support recovery of the gutted tourism sector.”