After a bracing few rounds in the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, DS Techeetah head to round five for the 2019 Hong Kong ePrix of the all-electric single-seater racing series, knowing that another sub-standard race here would make anything near a title challenge this season almost an impossibility.
After looking having the strongest package in race conditions at the 2018 Ad Diriyah ePrix, the Chinese team have fallen short of front-running pace and have not finished on the podium since defending champion, Jean-Eric Vergne, finished second in Riyadh. A combination of crashes, misfortune and poor qualifying mean that they are languishing down in fourth place in the teams championship. Meanwhile, defending drivers champion Vergne sits only eighth in the drivers standings, some 25-points off points leader Jerome D’ Ambrosio, with Vergne’s team-mate Andre Lotterer just a point ahead in sixth.
But given that both DS Techeetah drivers will be in the second qualifying group, in theory there should be more grip on the track and the surface should be cleaner, thus allowing both Vergne and Lotterer to qualify higher up and avoid the chaos that ensues from a fightback Formula E race.
Hence, defending champion Vergne said heading to Hong Kong ahead of Sunday’s race:
‘The Hong Kong Circuit is one of the best locations of the whole calendar. We’re right in the middle of Central Hong Kong with the iconic Ferris wheel and the skyscrapers in the background. Aside from crossing the chequered flag at qualifying with the nose going forward this time, all I want is a clean, incident free race. Being in the middle of the pack has really caused us issues so far this season and I’m keen to show off the pace of the car and all we need is a clean race to do so.”
Andre Lotterer had a better time in Mexico City, finishing a fine fifth place. But is still looking for his first podium of the season, so heading to Hong Kong said:
“I love racing in Asia and especially Hong Kong. The scenery is amazing and it’s the first time we’re gonna hit a proper street circuit with the Gen 2 car, so I’m looking forward to that action. Our car should be better there than at the last two races, so I hope to score some big points.”
In addition to their participation in the ePrix on Sunday, DS Techeetah will participate in the FIA Smart Cities initiative, which will take place the night before. The forum brings together experts from different fields of sustainable mobility and speakers from national and local authorities, research institutes and important players in the industry which will reflect how innovation and technology continue to pave the way for cleaner, safer and more sustainable solutions in modern cities. Notable in the list of speakers at the event will be DS Techeetah Team Principal, Mark Preston who will give be speaking about “Formula E Insights – Advancing Electrification in Racing” in using racing to help develop electric mobility in cities.
One of DS Techeetah’s partners, Efacec, a Portuguese technology company who are determined to making sustainable products. As such, they are actively contributing in the development of solutions for smart cities, devising the ‘Smart City Concept by Efacec’, which involves an intelligent ecosystem of different technologies and systems located in the cities which collects, processes and correlates information to allow real-time decision-making. Hence, the innovative IT solutions, combined with the easy-to-access digital services are designed to increase the energy and environmental efficiency of each city by improving people’s quality of life.
This Smart City concept was unanimously applied to urban sustainability no-matter the size of the city, in which all infrastructures and equipment are monitored and linked to an operation and command centre through various communication channels in order to have real-time data collection.
As part of its Smart Cities concept, Efacec have had huge involvement in connecting cities in South-East Asia with mobility solutions being of central importance, with the largest bridge in the world which connects Zhuhai, Macao and Hong Kong is equipped with an Efacec EV fast-charger, with Efacec having installed more than 100 EV chargers in Macao and Hong Kong.
Efacec’s partnership with DS Techeetah allows them to have greater exposure and permits for a great gain in the region with China being one of the main markets for electric mobility, as China already represents half of the global market for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. As by the end of 2017, China already had more than 400,000 charging stations which illustrates the growing demand for electric mobility, with a growing awareness that with car ownership on the rise with an ever-expanding population, there needs to be a solution to keep are cities sustainable.
The forum this weekend at Hong Kong will allow Efacec another opportunity to present their vision directly to the politicians and people who will make the decisions about electric mobility infrastructure in the years to come, in which Efacec will hope to expand their provisions for electric mobility in this region.