A well researched piece by Brian Handwerk on energyblog.nationalgeographic.com discusses the how gasoline and electric racing stack up against each other. To summarize, Formula E is a new racing circuit that features electric cars which begins this September 2014 in Beijing. This first season all ten teams in Formula E will be driving a Spark-Renault SRT_01E, which is a fully electric car capable of reaching 150 miles per hour or more.
The difference in fuel consumption of the electric cars versus gasoline is notable. The electric cars will be limited to 30 kilowatts per hour which equals less than one gallon of gasoline. F1 racing, the gasoline counterpart of Formula E, uses three to four miles per gallon of gasoline. There have been efforts on the gasoline side to reduce gas consumption, including large efforts to switch to higher ethanol gasoline. NASCAR switched to a 15 percent ethanol gas in 2011 and even saw a performance boost from the change. In 2010 Ferrari introduced a car that drives on a cellulosic ethanol blend and they won their F1 race. IndyCar, a different racing franchise, uses an 85 percent ethanol blend, which makes for much cleaner emissions.
Formula E is just another change in the sport of racing toward a cleaner future, where fast cars don’t mean choking the atmosphere. When average people see how powerful electric cars can be maybe they will want to make the trade.