05 December 2018

New Zealand's chance to demonstrate a true commitment to clean technology and a sustainable future

An annual event that demonstrates some of the world’s most advanced clean technology, showcases New Zealand’s seriousness in meeting environmental concerns, and places major emphasis on the development of future transportation for all Kiwis…

That’s the vision of an Auckland-based consortium behind a bid to bring the ABB FIA Formula E Championship to New Zealand’s largest city. Formula E is the fully electric motor sport championship of the global governing body for motor sport, and mobility clubs, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA). Much more than just a motor race, Formula E is a spearhead for driving new technologies and innovations addressing the world’s future mobility concerns – and promoting the need for a strategic approach to delivering transportation that is more sustainable, safer and smarter.

Naturally focused on the development of electric transportation, Formula E shines a light on the benefits of electrification in reducing carbon emissions, the need for deliberate infrastructure development and providing a positive economic impact, while delivering a thought leadership platform bringing global expertise that could help shape the New Zealand of tomorrow. Auckland has its own mobility challenges which, unless addressed now, could lead Aucklanders to face significantly worse congestion, higher fuel costs, an inability to meet environmental targets, and reduced and more difficult access to mobility across all areas of the city.

The championship’s calendar is a “who’s who” of truly global cities, such as New York, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Berlin, Mexico City and Santiago.Auckland would be uniquely positioned on this list as a leader of sustainable technology with ambitious decarbonisation goals as a city, and able to support an aspirational goal of delivering the world’s first 100% renewable energy-powered motor race. Formula E represents a research and development hub, and a test-bed for some of the world’s biggest players working on improving the future of mobility, with Audi, BMW, DS Automobiles (Citröen), Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, ABB, enel, DHL, Bosch and Michelin among those using the championship to hone their future technologies.

To deliver New Zealand and Auckland a truly global platform that could help lead to a better quality of life for all Kiwis, and advance the environmental targets of being 100 per cent renewable by 2035 and carbon neutral by 2050, the bid consortium is currently involved in discussions with central and local government stakeholders to supplement existing corporate funding committed by Vector, New Zealand International Convention Centre, Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and Drive Electric among others.

Formula E already has a strong Kiwi flavour, with New Zealand’s Mitch Evans one of the drivers for the factory Jaguar team, and a variety of Kiwi-developed technology featured in the championship. The Auckland E-Prix is slated for a late 2019 or early 2020 date. Options for the venue are still being evaluated, however a downtown site requiring minimal impact on locals is favoured.

Craig Cotton, CEO, NZ Innovation Council, and a senior member of the Auckland E-Prix bid team, believes this is a unique opportunity that likely won’t come again. “This is an incredible opportunity for New Zealand… From our discussions, Formula E is motivated to come here and has shown an appreciation for our inherent affinity for the environment – and our ambitious sustainability targets.

“There is a crucial role for electric transportation to play in achieving those targets – we need to start delivering the technology to create a mobility system that actually improves the lives of New Zealanders. We have an opportunity to excite and engage Kiwis in a smarter, cleaner, more connected and economically sustainable future. How do we ease congestion, drive down fuel costs, display global leadership by achieving our 2035 and 2050 environmental goals, and improve access to mobility for all Kiwis? “Formula E is the ideal stage to help us engage, learn and push for solutions and outcomes. It will also provide Auckland with a sporting event that will show the world what a spectacular city it is, positioning New Zealand as not just the best place on the planet – but the best place FOR the planet! “The opportunity is now – corporate New Zealand is onboard; we need a commitment from central and local government to deliver New Zealanders this catalyst for change, and a dynamic and attractive sporting event with truly global reach. If we miss today’s opportunity, it is gone.”

Simon McKenzie, CEO, Vector Energy“Vector is on a mission to create a new energy future for New Zealand – a future where Electric Vehicles are the norm, not the exception. The country has committed to being net zero carbon by 2050, and the transport and energy sectors will play a key role in delivering on that commitment. “At Vector, we see great opportunities to accelerate the adoption of new energy technologies such as solar and battery – these need to be embraced and shared. This is why we launched Vector Lights on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, and why we’re confident that, in time, we will see a zero carbon Formula E event in Auckland. “Formula E is an example of how far EV technology has developed and represents an opportunity for New Zealand to take faster steps towards achieving zero carbon – while showcasing an annual event that is vibrant, sustainable, and demonstrates what is possible with new energy technologies.”

Mark Webber, nine-time F1 Grand Prix winner, 2015 FIA World Endurance Champion, Porsche Brand Ambassador “I am very excited by the prospect of Formula E coming to Auckland. It’s imperative that this part of the world – Australia and New Zealand – doesn’t get left behind by the rest of the world as it forges ahead developing technology and infrastructure for the future. Someone needs to lead the charge here, and I’m pleased that Auckland appears to be jumping at the chance. “When you look at the list of cities involved, and the companies involved, you can see that Formula E is where the future of personal transportation is being shaped – I can certainly speak on behalf of Porsche’s commitment to the championship and its vision. Also the fact that everyone is excited to visit New Zealand… “

On top of that, having a local in Mitch Evans in a factory team competing at the front end of such an exciting and high-profile championship will be absolutely fantastic for Kiwi fans to get behind!”

Stephen Selwood, Chief Executive, Infrastructure New Zealand"Aucklanders don’t have it easy when it comes to transporting themselves around the city. When you take into consideration the immense congestion that so many deal with on a daily basis, and the fuel costs and environmental concerns faced by all Kiwis, it becomes clear that there needs to be cohesive and strategic planning to tackle these critical issues. These are topics that affect all Aucklanders’ quality of life, and we need to get serious about delivering effective and forward=looking solutions.

“Recent analysis by sustainability consultants, thinkstep, shows that up to 88 per cent of New Zealand’s 2015 transport carbon emissions could be eliminated by 2050 by shifting the light vehicle fleet to electric and trucks, trains, boats and planes to hydrogen or biofuel. “Infrastructure NZ is supportive of any measure that can expediate this process - and we believe Formula E can be the appropriate catalyst, as a demonstration of what is possible when people open their minds to the future, and accept technology as a way of genuinely improving peoples’ lives.”

Callum Mallett, Executive General Manager – Hospitality, New Zealand International Convention Centre “The New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) is proud to be supporting the Formula E feasibility work and would welcome the event coming to New Zealand in 2019. “We see events such as Formula E as key opportunities, not just for Auckland, but for the nation to showcase ourselves to a global audience, to highlight our businesses, technology, innovation and culture. “The NZICC is being built to help New Zealand welcome the world, and by participating in this bid process for Formula E, we are trying to do our bit to ensure the world hears our collective voice.”

Need more information?
Mark McCartney
Marketing & Communications, Auckland E-Prix