The Formula E knows that innovation takes time, so they are opening up the sport incrementally. Everyone drives the same car in year one, but season two will grant the teams a bit of freedom. They will still be given the same Spark chassis but will be allowed to tinker with the motor, inverter, gearbox and cooling system.
The trend will continue as the sport grows. Eventually teams will be able to craft their own cars with unique components. Strict F1 safety standards will remain in place, but perhaps in-race charging or battery swapping will be possible. Teams will debate whether to carry a heavier battery that will last the whole race.
Similar to the “Race it on Sunday, Buy it on Monday" days of NASCAR, racing will drive innovation. Technologies and parts developed to win races will trickle down to the average commuter.
Automotive advancement is not limited to professional race teams. Motorsports push their fans to drive faster and better. It urges them to learn and get their hands dirty in their garages. The next generation of gear-heads will be rebuilding electric motors, optimizing batteries, reprogramming controllers and experimenting with aerodynamics.
The Formula E has the power to change minds. While many believe electric vehicles to be sluggish commuters, racers know the thrill of instant horsepower and on-demand torque. The rumble and rev of a V8 will become old-fashioned. The invigorating whir of a rotary electric motor will spark the hearts of car fanatics.
Electricity could come from edible algae goo. A child could point at a tail-pipe and ask: “What's that?"