Electric series generates plenty of buzz

Tue Sep 2, 2014 4:44pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Alejandro Agag, the man leading the world's first all-electric car racing series, laughingly describes himself as an 'old petrolhead' who likes a bit of noise.

The joke stops there, however. The 43-year-old chief executive has silenced the doubters who only two years ago were questioning whether he could turn his 'Formula E' plans into reality and next week he hopes to show he is on to a winner.

The first race, or 'ePrix', will be held in Beijing on Sept. 13, sanctioned by the International Automobile Federation and broadcast around the world, and Agag is smiling at how perceptions have changed.

"Many people thought this (series) was not going to happen because it was a really difficult project to put together. There were no cars, no cities, no sponsors, no television," the Spaniard told Reuters in an interview.

"Now people have seen the testing, they've seen the cars, they can walk in the Olympic Park in Beijing and see all the fences and walls so the race is happening. So that really changes the minds of people."

If Formula One remains in a league of its own, with the glamor of Ferrari coupled with the allure of tracks like Monaco and Monza, Agag has a different audience in mind - one that is younger and more interested in social media than motorsport.

"We have one thing in which we are the best. We are the cleanest," said the chief executive.

"And for the world today, that’s probably the most important thing.   Continued...

Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings, poses for a photograph with the Formula E car on display in London November 12, 2013.   REUTERS/Luke MacGregor