Season three of the FIA Formula E all electric motorsport series kicked off the weekend of October 8-9 in Hong Kong. This follows a successful first two seasons that saw the series solidify itself as a viable, growing, and influential focal point in the global efforts at addressing sustainability and climate change. The last year has also seen the series become embraced by more of the world’s automotive OEMs and specialty producers of electric vehicles.
With the recent Canadian federal government actions on carbon pricing and the U.S. ratification of the Paris Agreement, both countries should be looking at ways to leverage the reach and influence of Formula E for the global projection and economic advancement of their home grown industries of all types. Governments should highlight the benefits of aligning with Formula E through their existing business, science, innovation, and technology development and investment programs.
Formula E offers multiple Commercial Marketing, Technology, and Sustainable Economic Development Opportunities for companies to successfully tap and profit from the Formula E global corporate ecosystem, technology applications, and environmental ethos.
With Montreal and New York City on the season three schedule, this should add a level of interest and opportunities to North American companies interested in showcasing their products and services to the world.
FE Value Proposition
Taking a look at why the above suggestion may be pertinent, Formula E’s key pillars are the environment, sustainability, and innovation. Sustainability runs through the core of Formula E. The organization is committed to addressing the impact of climate change through reducing a large source of GHG emissions by assisting with transitioning society to the widespread adaptation and use of Electric Vehicles.
- The series is a R&D and marketing platform for many of the world’s automotive OEM (Audi, Jaguar, BMW, Renault) and specialty vehicle companies (Faraday Future, DS Automobiles) for their electric vehicles and technology. Strangely enough, GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler are not among these.
- The innovation running through the entire Formula E series, from the car, battery, and motor technology, to the ways its partners are using the platform to conduct research and testing, to the actual running of the series and events (i.e., Fanboost voting that gives select drivers an extra boost of power during a race) is attractive.
- Along with Hong Kong, Montreal, and New York, the series schedule includes races through downtown city streets in Paris, Monaco, Brussels, Marrakech (during COP22), Berlin, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires that are easily accessible by foot, bike, or public transport. And, Formula E and its partners leave an environmental legacy behind in all of its host race cities after the events in the form of generating social awareness and promoting local youth and environmental based charities.
- Formula E attracted a global television audience in season two of over 190 million, has a fan base consisting of a large percentage of environmentally concerned millennials, generates huge global social media (4+ billion impressions) and digital/print news coverage from a host of industries/areas, and attracts a live event audience of close to 400,000.
- The technology used and needed by the cars, software systems, and connectivity, etc., is groundbreaking and complex.
Therefore, Formula E can be seen as a very compelling “vehicle” for cities, governments, and companies to associate with. Some examples of how various industries can use Formula E as a global technology and/or marketing platform and partner for business development can be seen below:
Banks and Fintech companies can promote unique products for millennials and financing for clean tech companies. In addition to promoting innovative investments for global infrastructure needs that are already being affected by the impacts of climate change.
Insurance Companies can promote and offer innovative new corporate and public sector “climate change” products (i.e., against impact of rising sea levels) and reach a global millennial target market to promote life and health coverage products.
Consumer Brands/Retailers: Consumer brands can reach and influence a global fan base of millennial suburban dwellers who hold environmental “aspirations”. Retailers can design and execute creative activation around the events and highlight either their CSR policies and/or sustainable products they sell. This is particularly of interest due to the world class cities in which Formula E holds its events.
Automotive parts companies can partner with either a team or an OEM involved in the series to gain awareness, more deeply engage customers, test new technology, and enter new markets.
Tech companies can link in with the complex needs of either the teams/cars or Formula E itself to test products or upgrade performance levels.
Clean Tech firms can associate with the environmental values and global reach of the Formula E brand to expand awareness and sales globally, promote product awareness, and physically showcase actual usage of their products.
Energy Companies: Yes, even energy companies can benefit through highlighting their CSR and sustainability efforts within the marketplace and utilizing innovative technology solutions to reducing GHG emissions. Enel, the Italian energy company, is a global Formula E partner providing renewable energy to the events through products that are connected with a host of IoT technology.
Real Estate/Engineering Companies can project their involvement with construction and managing buildings and properties with LEED certification/design, showcasing the waste diversion and energy savings associated with it.
So, the global commercial and positive environmental impact opportunities within Formula E are many. Business and government should give investing and partnership opportunity decisions within the series serious consideration when applying resources, advertising, and marketing funds.
The timing is right for companies to get involved, as the series is in its early phases and the cost of association is not prohibitive. An image of leadership in its selected industry would be gained by companies who align themselves now with Formula E.
Season three should be exciting and will continue with producing the benefits and opportunities outlined above. I’m looking forward to it, and to attending the season ending race event in Montreal next July!