It’s safe to say that professional auto racing has become a crowded landscape. Different types of cars, different types of tracks, and different levels of driving combine for no shortage of racing content, but there may not be a more unique racing experience than that of Formula E.

While other classifications focus on gas-powered vehicles, Formula E uses electric cars. As a result, Formula E is the only major sport that can boast a net zero carbon certification since day one.

In other words, Formula E is “Net Zero since Day Zero,” a catchy slogan the organization flashes throughout their events with pride. A Zamboni driving around the ice would technically have a larger carbon footprint than a Formula E event.

With an increasingly high level of focus on sustainability, Formula E has represented a welcome change in the auto-racing scene while providing a potential blueprint for inevitable transitions to more environmentally friendly racing events from other organizations.

If you haven't dipped your toes into the Formula E waters yet, now is the perfect time to. The final event of the season is coming up this weekend in London with a double-header on July 29 and July 30. This event can be viewed on TSN+ and promises to feature some pretty intense action. Britain’s Jake Dennis currently sits atop the Drivers standings as he competes with Avalanche Andretti, with Portland winner Nick Cassidy – a Kiwi driver competing for Envision – sitting just 24 points behind him. Meanwhile, fellow Kiwi Mitch Evans sits in third place with Jaguar.

It’s not just about finding sustainable solutions, though. The racing is awesome. Here’s what it was like to travel to Portland and cover the Portland E-Prix.


Portland E-Prix

First of all, the city of Portland is great. If you have the chance to go, I would highly recommend it. With tons of parkland, bike trails, and the recognition of America’s greenest city, it’s also a very appropriate city to host an E-Prix with a net zero carbon footprint.

Showing up on Friday, the Portland International Speedway had a distinct energy to it. There weren’t a lot of people in attendance yet, so I got to poke around the track and see the ins and outs of the major event set up. Oh, and the weather could not have been better.


While there were lots of employees and volunteers busy working away, it was clear that a lot of time had already been put into the Portland E-Prix. The track was completely set up with the paddocks built and the concessions stocked, and the cars were receiving their final tune ups as I arrived a few hours before Practice 1. 



For those that are new to Formula E, one of the coolest elements is the strategy around use of power. Energy conservation is paramount at an E-Prix, and it adds a whole new level of preparation amongst the teams. On top of that, there’s a really cool feature called Attack Mode unique to Formula E. Attack Mode allows drivers to receive a temporary boost in voltage by briefly driving off-line to enter a marked area called the “Attack Zone.”

The idea is that a driver would lose their place in order to gain the power up, but would potentially be able to make it back with the extra voltage. It’s literally like a video game, and a feature that can be boasted as authentic to Formula E.

Here’s a few Formula E drivers – Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein, Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, and McLaren’s Jake Hughes – to discuss the importance of energy conservation, and how it particularly applies to the Portland circuit.  



When the tires hit the pavement for practice, one thing became clear very quickly; an E-Prix is notably quieter than other auto racing events. Formula E’s latest models, GEN3, are the fastest, lightest, and most efficient electric race cars ever made.

While earplugs are borderline necessary at most auto racing events, attending a Formula E showcase is much easier on the ears.



Practice day came and went without a hitch, and there was more than enough to see and do around the track. Overall, it was a great set up for Saturday’s race day.



One of the reasons why this experience was so special to cover was for the access. The organizers were extremely accommodating to media, and lots of access to the different areas. This included access to the paddock, where I was given one-on-one time with drivers to ask questions about the upcoming race, along with some fun questions and games to flash a little personality.

For example, which iconic Canadian would win in a head-to-head Formula E race?



Additionally, I wanted to get the driver’s opinions on which athlete from another sport would be great to see sit behind the wheel of one of the GEN3s?



It's not all about the driver’s however, and it’s clear Formula E really cares about the fan experience. Despite it being Portland’s first time ever hosting a Formula E event, the fan village was top notch. Some of the interactive features included showcases of different electric vehicles, a full-fledged gaming area, a demonstration of driver workouts that fans could participate in,  

Here’s a look at it:



The community of race fans included some other familiar faces as well, with Jaden Smith and Lindsey Vonn representing a few of the celebrities in attendance.



Overall, the experience was top notch. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out a Formula E event, I would highly recommend it. Even if you aren’t able to watch it live, watching on TV allows you to get a better understanding of the strategy that goes into an E-Prix.

You know we'll be tuned into the races this weekend, and we hope you will be too. Until then, here’s a video in which I try to name as many NHLers as I can while riding a ‘hot lap’ alongside Formula E pace car driver Bruno Correia.