‘The future is electric’, says racing driver

Extreme E: The specially designed cars can go from 0 to 62mph in 4.5 seconds. © Extreme E

Are electric cars REALLY green? A champion racing driver will take part in a competition using only e-vehicles. He says it is the future of racing – but is electricity as good as we think?

What’s happening

The 4x4 speeds around the track. Mud and water splash up as it skids on a sharp corner. As the car reaches the final straight, it speeds up and overtakes a rival.

After the race, it is time for the cars to refuel. The teams drive their vehicles to the electric chargers and plug them in.

Find out more

Extreme E is a new car race using only electric cars. It is the first sporting competition based around an environmental message.

The races will take place on four different continents. To get to each one, the cars will travel on a ship instead of in planes. Onboard, scientists will do important research on the impact of climate change.

Ten teams from around the world are taking part, including three Formula One stars. The race is also a celebration of equality: unlike other competitions, women will be able to race against men.

One driver taking part is Jenson Button. The Formula One champion is excited about what it means for the future of motor racing. He says the future “will always be electric”.

But are electric cars REALLY green?

Some say…

Yes! Unlike traditional cars, they do not use petrol or diesel. These are non-renewable fuels. Once we’ve used them, we cannot use them again. They also cause terrible pollution. If a city only contained e-vehicles, the skies would be clearer and people would be much healthier. They are much greener than other vehicles.

Others think…

Not necessarily. Electric cars are only as eco-friendly as the electricity they use. Lots of electricity is still made by burning fossil fuels in big power plants. Until we can build enough wind farms and solar panels to create green electricity, the best way to be eco-friendly is to stop driving. Use public transport – or go by bike!

You Decide

  1. Is Extreme E a good advert for electric cars?

Activities

  1. Design a car you can enter in the Extreme E competition. Draw a picture with labels to show what the car can do. Think about how it will tackle difficult ground while driving fast.

Some People Say...

“The way I drive, the way I handle a car, is an expression of my inner feelings.”

Lewis Hamilton, current Formula One world champion

What do you think?

Word Watch

4x4
A four-wheel drive is a vehicle where all four wheels get power from the engine to move forward. They are used for driving on uneven roads, or for off-roading.
Vehicles
Something used to transport people or goods. They include cars, lorries and trains. An e-vehicle is one that runs on electricity.
Environmental
Having to do with the environment – the natural world around us.
Continents
A massive area of land separated from others. There are seven continents on Earth. The first race will take place in Saudi Arabia, which is in Asia.
Planes
Usually, cars taking part in races are transported around the world in cargo planes. These burn a lot of fuel and are bad for the environment.
Formula One stars
Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button all have teams in the race. All three have won the Formula One world championship at least once.
Jenson Button
A British racing driver who won the Formula One series in 2009.
Fossil fuels
Fuels that come from old life forms that have decomposed over thousands of years. The three most important are coal, petroleum and natural gas.

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