Formula E

A Joint Vision for E-Mobility: DHL supports Formula E in Berlin

Key Takeaways

  • On May 19, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will make a stop in Berlin for the fourth time.
  • As official Formula E logistics partner, DHL transports some 450 tonnes of freight, including race cars, batteries and broadcasting equipment.
  • E-mobility brings racing and logistics together.

Now in its fourth season, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will be coming to Berlin again this year. Saturday May 19, 2018 marks the third time that a Formula E race will be held on the apron section at Berlin’s historic Tempelhof Airport. The BMW i Berlin E-Prix will be the ninth of twelve races in 2018 as ten teams compete to determine the winner of this innovative, fully-electric racing series.

The “race behind the race” – the highly complex logistics that make the Championship possible – begins long before the start of each race. As official worldwide logistics partner, DHL transports some 450 tonnes of freight per race, roughly the equivalent of the freight volume of two Boeing 747 aircraft and 25 ocean freight containers. In addition to the 40 race cars, the freight also includes batteries, charging units, media and broadcasting equipment, and additional infrastructure and equipment belonging to the teams and Formula E.

“We’ve been in the motorsport business for over 35 years, so we have the necessary know-how to ensure smooth logistics for Formula E,” says Paul Fowler, Vice President Motorsport & Managing Director UK, at DHL Global Forwarding. “And in the spirit of this green racing series, we make sure the logistics processes are as environmentally friendly as possible – through the intelligent use of our multi-modal transportation network, for example. This remains a tremendous challenge due to the season’s tight timeline and the large distances that need to be covered between racing venues.”

Through the increased use of electric cars, we can significantly improve air quality and thus quality of life in urban areas

Arjan Sissing

DHL and Formula E share much more than just their successful business relationship. One of the main objectives of Formula E is to promote R&D and the real-world deployment of electric mobility solutions – a priority shared by DHL. The Group is an e-mobility pioneer in its industry. It manufactures its own electric delivery vehicle, the StreetScooter, and already deploys more than 5,500 StreetScooters in its delivery operations. The Group has also successfully begun selling the StreetScooter to third parties, and plans to expand production capacity to 20,000 units in 2018. “Through the increased use of electric cars, we can significantly improve air quality and thus quality of life in urban areas,” says Arjan Sissing, Senior Vice President Corporate Brand Marketing at Deutsche Post DHL Group.

For DHL parent company Deutsche Post DHL Group, this approach is part of a clearly defined environmental target. By 2025, the Group wants to reduce local air pollution emissions by operating 70% of its own first and last mile services with clean pick-up and delivery solutions, such as bicycles and electric vehicles. In this way, Deutsche Post DHL Group is today already working to reduce air and noise pollution in the transport industry. The Group’s long-term goal is even more ambitious. By 2050 Deutsche Post DHL Group wants to reduce all logistics-related emissions to zero. “As a Formula E partner, we not only want to demonstrate our know-how in the area of motorsport logistics, we also want to help demonstrate the advantages of electric mobility. Formula E allows us to combine this with the entertainment value of a first-class racing event,” says Sissing.

Green racing

It may be green, but Formula E is still an extremely exciting and demanding motorsport series. The electric vehicles accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2.9 seconds, and boast a maximum speed of 225 km/h. While all Formula E vehicles have the same chassis, aerodynamics, tires and batteries, each team is free to develop its own powertrain, consisting of motors, transmission and software.

At present battery capacity is not yet sufficient to power an entire race and drivers make an obligatory pit stop to change vehicles – but as of the 2018/19 season, new and improved batteries will make this extra stop redundant. Another unique feature of Formula E is the “FANBOOST” which allows fans to cast online votes for their favorite driver. The three drivers with the most votes receive an additional power boost, which they can use in the second half of the race within a designated timeframe.

As Formula E cars are quiet and emission-free, all races can be held directly in the host cities. In Berlin, the race is taking place on the grounds of the former Tempelhof Airport – the historic and now decommissioned airport that serves as a popular recreational area in the middle of the city. “In other cities such as New York or Hong Kong, the course even goes right through the city. This would be unthinkable for other racing series due to the extreme noise,” says Fowler. As an urban, green racing event, Formula E is attracting new motorsport fans who had not previously tuned in to conventional motorsport.

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