The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship continues the European leg of the 2020/21 Season 7 with a double race at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, the series’ first to be contested in Spain, on April 24 and 25. Situated about a half-hour’s drive west of the coastal city of Valencia, the circuit has served as a popular host for the premier levels of motorsport, including Formula 1 and MotoGP. The back-to-back rounds – the fifth and sixth of Season 7 – follow high-drama double races in Saudi Arabia and Italy, events that showcased the extreme level of competitiveness of the fully electric ABB Formula E series this year, with wins spread among four different drivers from three teams.
Competing on a racecourse new to the drivers and teams is a confounding experience in any motorsports series, a situation rife with countless unknowns about track surfaces, parts durability and race strategy. Fortunately, the 12 teams competing in the DHL Valencia E-Prix will have the benefit of the site’s status as the location – four times in all – for official pre-season testing. Last fall’s tests covered some 6,000 laps on the Valencia course, accounting for roughly 25,000 kilometers of data accumulation over three days.
Interest in electric vehicles and the broader goal of sustainability has grown in Spain, as it has across Europe, making Valencia a logical focal point for the increased reach of ABB Formula E. Sales of electric vehicles in Spain were reported to have increased by nearly two-thirds in 2020, and the country’s Energy Ministry has announced a generous incentive program for EV buyers. The expanded availability of charging, especially the DC fast chargers for which ABB is a technology leader, will enable that growth to continue.
With the Valencia races, the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship offers an ideal demonstration platform for the performance and practical appeal of e-mobility. When Season 9 gets underway two years from now, ABB’s expertise will take to the track as the Official Charging Supplier for the Gen 3 racecars. The company, which entered the eMobility market in 2010, has sold more than 400,000 electric vehicle chargers across more than 85 markets; more than 20,000 DC fast chargers and 380,000 AC chargers, including those sold through Chargedot.
The ABB commitment to e-mobility and sustainable, zero-emissions transportation, is evident across Spain in a number of applications. For example, ABB Spain is supplying traction converters and energy storage systems that will be fitted to 36 CITYLINK tram-trains manufactured by the Spanish subsidiary of Stadler, a maker of railway rolling stock, in Valencia. The electric tram-trains will serve the Cardiff, Wales, area and operate with overhead lines on parts of the network, switching to battery mode on non-electrified sections. This fleet will reduce carbon emissions by replacing the current diesel fleet.
Further ABB engagement in the transition to electrification throughout Spain include:
- ABB digital services currently installed in more than 45 distribution terminals in Spain automate oil and gas distribution terminals, giving oil and gas operations control of daily movement for as many as 4,500 trucks. The digital oversight contributes to the security of the operations, from identification and access of truck drivers to the distribution terminals to the accurate fill of trucks.
- ABB is suppling low-voltage solutions to manage the clean energy produced in new large-scale solar parks that Solarcentury is building in Extremadura and Andalusia, Spain. With a combined power of 500 MW of solar energy, the plants will be able to produce enough electricity to meet the electricity needs of 250,000 households, reducing CO2 emissions by approximately 285,000 tons per year.
- ABB upgraded landmark buildings in Zaragoza’s Smart City project with energy monitoring system.
- ABB technology cuts energy usage of InterContinental Hotel Madrid by 40 percent.
As the Valencia E-Prix gets underway, Sam Bird of Jaguar Racing, winner of Round 2 at Diriyah, will be defending his lead in the season points chase. In hot pursuit will be Bird’s teammate, Mitch Evans, with the strong finishes by the pair in the season’s early rounds giving Jaguar a comfortable lead in the Team Standings, followed by the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team and DS Techeetah. Robin Frijns of the Envision Virgin team rounds out the top three in the drivers’ points contest.
Two weeks after the Valencia rounds, the ABB Formula E series returns to the tradition-steeped streets of Monaco for a fourth time. The improved range and performance of the Gen 2 cars makes it possible for this year’s race to be contested using essentially the same course as the Formula 1 cars. It is a site that Sebastien Buemi, an ABB Ambassador and driver for the Nissan e.dams teams, eagerly anticipates, having won the race twice.