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Formula E as engine of social progress: can it really make a difference in boosting Sustainability?

Updated: May 22, 2023

On the 4th May 2023 a special interactive event was held at Le Meridien Plaza Hotel in cooperation with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. “Formula E Change. Accelerated.Live” offered the audience a unique stage where to debate about the exceptional potential of Formula E to drive innovation and contribute towards a sustainable human progress.

Photo >> “Formula E Change. Accelerated.Live” (Le Meridien Plaza Hotel, 4th May 2023) © Maurice Abbati

A panel of experts from motorsport, decision makers, education and business sectors joined the roundtable. MONACŒCOART® attended the event to collect some meaningful feedbacks from the participants.

Photo >> Keynote video message by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco (Le Meridien Plaza Hotel, 4th May 2023) © Maurice Abbati

Prince Albert II of Monaco (video message).

The Sovereign Prince underlined the pivotal role played by the energy transition in all its applications to provide a sustainable future:

«Since 2014, Formula E has been making a dream that encourages us to discover new ability opportunities. I am particularly proud that Monaco and my Foundation have been partners since day one. Thank you for taking the advantage of the Monaco e-Prix to generate discussions about the solutions about the concept of smart city to address the transition towards net-zero economies. We need to find new models using the potential of new technologies to serve humans and the environment. To achieve these goals, smart cities are great opportunities since over half of world population are concentrated in urban areas and it is expected to increase to 2/3 by 2050. Further 2.5 billion people will be added to the global population within a complex context and in a fragile environment».

The Sovereign Prince pointed out the efforts of the ongoing Monaco building extension to be fully in line with the SDGs targets besides the implementation of alternative ways of mobility with special focus to electric vehicles and a public transportation with reduced impacts. In view of the carbon neutrality to be achieved by 2050, advanced waste treatment and environmentally friendly heating systems have been developed as well including the ocean thermal energy plants covering about 20% of the overall citizens’ needs. These are all pillars of the Energy Transition involving the Monegasque territory in all different sectors, primarily the financial one. The idea is to create a more intelligent, more connected, more efficient and more comfortable way to experience the region.

Photo >> Keynote by Alejandro Hagag interviewed by Didier Laurent, Auto Club press journalist and moderator (Le Meridien Plaza Hotel, 4th May 2023) © Maurice Abbati

Alejandro Hagag, Founder of Formula E.

«When we first started the idea of Formula E at the Automobile Club de Monaco - ACM, it was like a distant dream. With the precious support of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco we made it possible thanks to a great partnership with the ACM and the Prince’s Foundation as well. As for racing, Monaco can be considered as the ‘cathedral’ of motorsport comparing to other locations that are ‘nice churches’. Setting the ABB championship here is amazing. I have been playing for many years myself and I have a big passion for racing. Then, my motivation to create Formula E was actually more ‘commercial’. Many sponsors started not following Formula 1 since it was too pollutant. I thought then we needed to shift towards a more sustainable way to compete on single-seaters. These were the origins of the idea. Now, we are currently thinking about GEN 4 that will allow ultra-fast charging. That will be also a strong message for the large audience that speeding up charging technology is possible and almost real. This is really exciting!»

As a matter of fact, most people are not making concrete actions to be more sustainable in their everyday life. Formula E developed in a challenging tool to allow a real change in conceiving social society and the economic ecosystem without affecting the general well-being achieved. Alejandro Hagag highlighted the fundamental role of Technology in making the transition happening. The original sport challenge was transformed in a way to change the business-as-usual capitalist system. Not by chance, from the very beginning of Formula E race cars have been developed through three generations of high-tech. The latest version, the GEN3 was launched last year (2022) in Monaco during the Monaco e-Prix. This is quite a revolution comparing to the primary models that were able to race for only twenty minutes. Thus, the need to make two vehicles per racing team available to each driver. Even though it might seem quite illogical, that management worked well. In the 2nd generation the problem had already been overcome. That was a huge step forward despite race cars were bigger than the average size. This years’ 3rd generation cars are finally normal-sized. A further achievement that is incredible together with novel tyre equipment and the recovery system.

Photo >> Speech by Virginie Hache-Vincenot, from right to left: James Rossiter, Kari Aina Eik and Marina Zima, Smart Cities and Solutions Expert, ABB (Le Meridien Plaza Hotel, 4th May 2023) © Maurice Abbati

Virginie Hache-Vincenot - Project Manager for Energy, Finance and Innovation, Mission for the Energy Transition, Government of Monaco.

«Sustainability is often referred to Energy Transition in Monaco as the best way to tackle the climate change challenge. The Principality is producing about 74 thousand tons of greenhouse gases per year (data source: 2021). The mission is to achieve -55% of emissions by 2030 to reach the carbon neutrality in 2050. We are using a lot of technologies to help gaining successful results. As for mobility, we are having very good results after investing remarkably on infrastructures to foster electric vehicles».

Kari Aina Eik - Secretary General and Executive Director, United Cities, Organisation and The United Cities Funds.

«High-tech is also very useful regarding the creation of digital twins of real urban territories based of a complete set of data. That allows you to simulate the potentials for using certain technologies and showcase where you want to be at a fixed time in the future. So, you can rapidly start doing different things if what you previously planned is not adequate. Nowadays, we can no longer do business as usual. Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for Smart Sustainable Cities around the world are being designed both for getting data but also for using them».

Certified digitalized indicator systems can really allow urban areas to evaluate their progress towards the achievement of SDGs. At the same time, it allows to inform about local priorities and sustainable transition while increasing values and reinforcing decision makers decisions in close relation with main stakeholders and neighboring cities.

James Rossiter - Team Principal, Maserati MSG.

«The advanced in technology has been incredible also regarding the software inside the vehicle on the impulse of Formula E championship. Having the ability to bring everybody together to showcase what can be achieved through electric high-tech devices while racing in town is cool. It is fun and sexy! One of the things I really love of Monaco is that I can charge my e-vehicle almost in all public parking areas and it costs nothing except for the entrance fee. If you would like to become a smart city, you need to have these infrastructures, Also in private building they have started installing the charges making this application available to a larger audience and user-friendly».

Advanced devices designed and tested for Formula E are then applied to road cars contributing to the development of the market towards low environmental impact forms of transport. Reduction of battery charging time, their long-lasting duration and more sustainable forms of battery disposal could lead to a real change in the habits of drivers and push the decarbonisation of logistics, provided that energy comes from non-fossil sources. Moreover, energy efficiency is making great strides in home automation also allowing to reduce domestic consumption through new applications.

Photo >> Speech by Frédéric Genta, from right to left: Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director & CEO, Envision Racing, Giovanni Sgro – Head of Maserati Corse, Maserati, and Andre Felker – Founder & CEO, Backbone One (Le Meridien Plaza Hotel, 4th May 2023) © Maurice Abbati

Frédéric Genta, Member of Monaco Government in charge of attractiveness and digital transformation.

«The Smart City initiatives is crucial to convey the message to make Monaco's urban area more sustainable. Digital transition is the way to develop novel applications and as for transport we are committed to make every decision to encourage e-mobility considering it the best option for eve need. Smart City means also enabling lower consumptions of electric energy in partnership with SMEG (Monaco's electricity and gas utility) as well as through the most advanced digital IT equipment and cloud technologies serving people at a reasonable price».


By Maurice Abbati

Springer International Publishing

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