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Formula E considering a return to Canada as new GEN3 engine revolutionizes sport

‘When we look at Canada, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, they would all really fit’
Formula E’s CEO says that a Canadian stop on the electric car racing circuit would make a lot of sense. ABT Schaeffler FE02 driver Lucas di Grassi, of Brazil, drives through the chicane on his way to winning the season three driver’s championship at the Montreal Formula ePrix electric car race, in Montreal on Sunday, July 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tom Boland

Formula E’s chief executive officer says that a Canadian stop on the electric car racing circuit would make a lot of sense.

Jamie Reigle, who is from Vancouver, spoke on Wednesday about the possibility of having a Canadian event as he arrived in Nice, France, ahead of Formula E’s race in Monaco this weekend.

He said that the cinematic quality of certain Canadian cities would really lend themselves to the 16-round series that has races in Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Rome, and London, among other locales.

“We think about cities that are iconic, and that’s a soft term, or it’s a qualitative term, but when you list London, Rome, Berlin, where we raced, you want to ideally have names of cities that resonate on a global basis,” Reigle said from France. “That’s not to say every city we race in has that same cache, but that is a factor.

“So when we look at Canada, the capital city Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, they would all really fit into that.”

Two other qualities Formula E is looking for in its race locations are a strong sporting culture that could get out a solid spectator turnout and a direct connection to the automotive industry. Reigle said that given those requirements, there’s a lot of interest in having a Formula E race in Canada.

“The factors that need to come together, that I alluded to before, all those are super positive and attractive,” said Reigle. “So then the question is, can we find the right city and the right venue within that city?”

Both Montreal and Vancouver have been connected with Formula E before.

The Montreal ePrix, a pair of races held in late July 2017 at the Montreal Street Circuit, drew a total crowd of 45,000 people. Formula E has not been able to return to Montreal since that one event, however.

Vancouver was scheduled to hold a race in July 2022 but it was cancelled three months before the event. Several media outlets have reported that the promoter responsible for that event is facing a number of lawsuits following its cancellation.

“I think the learning for us (in Vancouver) was more about ensuring that we as Formula E drive the process more than having a partner who was leading from the front on that,” said Reigle. “We’ve actually changed our model off the back of that, where we try to have more direct relationships with the relevant city officials.”

Formula E published its sustainability report for its eighth season on March 2, with a focus on the new GEN3 engine which was introduced in 2022.

The vehicles powered by GEN3 engines are the most sustainable race cars ever built, according to Formula E. The racing series says all emissions associated with the GEN3’s development and production have been offset.

The annual report found that GEN3 engines regenerated 40 per cent of the energy needed for a race during the race. The cars get around 95 per cent power efficiency from an electric motor delivering up to 350 kilowatts of power (470 brake horsepower), compared to approximately 40 per cent for a higher performance internal combustion engine.

GEN3s are also the first-ever formula car with both front and rear powertrains. A new front powertrain adds 250kW to the 350kW at the rear, more than doubling the regenerative capability of the previous Gen2 to a total of 600kW.

—John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Vancouver is considering hosting a Formula E race using electric cars