Newcastle Herald | 27 November 2018

As the V8 engines thundered down the Newcastle Supercars track over the weekend, another kind of motorsport is fast gaining pace. Electric auto racing may just be the sustainable future of motorsports.

Formula E, the biggest electric car racing series in the world, is entering its fifth season. While in 2019, world-leading motorcycle race series MotoGP is launching an all-electric class.

As the proud owner of a Zero e-motorbike, I’ve successfully raced my bike against the best-ranked petrol vehicles on the market. I can testify to its performance, capability and speed.

But despite the global rise of e-racing, Australia is still stuck on the starting line with petrol vehicles dominating the racing circuit. But once the Australian public has had the chance to experience the impressive capabilities and performance of modern electric cars, I believe there will be a huge surge in interest. Could Newcastle Supercars, one of the newest additions to the race calendar, lead that charge?

With local feedback on the V8 Supercars event mentioning ‘a constant whirring in my ears’ and ‘advertisements for coal and petrol companies around the track proved the event was taking Newcastle “backwards”’, Novocastrians may already be on board. Having a high-profile electric racing event would promote Newcastle’s efforts to be a more sustainable city, generate significant tourism revenue, and give electric cars and bikes the profile they need to crack the Australian market – all of this without any noise.

At the moment there simply aren’t enough opportunities for the public to see these amazing performance vehicles in action. Adding an electric class to an event like Supercars would encourage home-grown innovation. Local manufacturers such as Warner Bay’s ELMOFO are producing world-class electric performance cars and bikes, and a local electric event would give them the opportunity to show Australia what they’re capable of.

Electric classes in race events could also help to make electric vehicles more widely available on the Australian market. The Tesla 3 is expected to hit Australian markets next year. Imagine the peak in interest after seeing this car’s full capabilities?

There’s no question in my mind that electric cars and motorcycles will soon be dominating their combustion counterparts on the Australian racetrack in years to come.

Newcastle, this is your chance to lead the pack.

David Hiley is a motorsport enthusiast, electric vehicle advocate and Vice Chairman of the Australian Electric Vehicles Association

Cities Power Partnership  Climate Council

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