Life Cycle Assessment - Sustainable Impacts of Formula E

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is at the forefront of sustainable studies. It takes a holistic view of the production, running and the end of life of the event, assessing its impact from the cradle to the grave, or to another cradle.

The LCA not only calculates our carbon footprint, but also performs a comprehensive data collection incorporating the championship’s impact on climate change, water footprint, ecosystems quality, natural resources and human health. The areas of Formula E activity that are assessed include development and production of the cars, freight, business travel, event logistic and management, spectator travel, infrastructure and overlay and energy consumption.

In our inaugural season, Formula E’s footprint was estimated at 25,000t CO2-eq. To put that in perspective, this number equals:

  • 110 flights from London to Chicago with 320 passengers aboard
  • The electric consumption of 11,000 UK households per annum
  • 3,400 trips around the Earth by Car

In season 2, our footprint has been calculated at 12,000 tCO2-eq. This number is equivalent to:

  • 60 transatlantic flights from Paris to New York with 320 passengers aboard
  • The electricity consumption of 7,900 UK households
  • 1,600 trips around the earth by car. This is a significant decrease in our footprint from season 1 

This shows that we have been improving our data collection from our first season where we overestimated our impacts, with this year bringing us closer to reality. It also proves that the LCA is a successful tool for measuring our impact and allowing us to take decisive actions in all areas of our activity in order to keep reducing our impact in the future, and increasing our positive sustainable legacy.

Our most impacting areas in Season 2 were freight, business travel and food and drinks:

Freight: As we are a global championship and temporary event we need to move a certain amount of material around the globe with us. Where possible we opt for trucks, trains and boats, as they have a significantly smaller impact than air freight – however our car batteries must be flown for safety reason, making this emission unavoidable.

Business Travels: In order to make electric cars and our event as cool as possible this requires the most momentous amount of work and effort from all of our team, and race day requires most of our staff to travel to the trackside. Consequently, having all of our team travel by air has been impactful.

Food and Drinks: All that racing and excitement makes us hungry! But we are trying our best to source all our food locally and sustainably to reduce the footprint of our meals and drinks on offer in the eVillage, media centre, crew catering for the staff and teams and for our luxury hospitality area, the EMOTION Club.

We understand at this point we are not perfect, but the LCA makes sure that we are fully aware of our impact and provides us with transparency in our operations. We aspire to keep reducing our footprint. For all of the emissions which we cannot avoid we neutralise through carbon offsetting. Thanks to our partnership with the leaders in global energy solutions, Enel, we will identify carbon offsetting projects in the countries that we race in, which will not only benefit environmental protection but also have very strong social benefits to local communities. 


Ernst & Young Report - Projected Benefits of Formula E


In 2013, Formula E commissioned Ernst & Young (EY) to assess the global value of Formula E to the electric vehicle market over the next 25 years (2015-2040) and its wider economic, environmental and social impact, in addition to delivering a sustainable legacy.

EY determined the potential of Formula E to drive technological innovation, social awareness, and infrastructure development for sustainable mobility. The value of Formula E was measured by evaluating how the championship will contribute to removing barriers to the electric vehicle market.

3 main topic areas:

  • Green growth factors include proceeds from additional electric vehicles sold, savings from fuel energy, extra sales in the industry, and benefits from new job creation.
  • Social factors include savings on healthcare costs from pollution reduction and benefits to the general quality of life.
  • Environmental savings encompass reduction in oil, consumption and CO2

FIA, investors and the Formula E management team believe that the championship’s potential to generate value for society is a strategic and intangible asset of the competition. Therefore EY concluded that a core differentiator of the championship is its sustainability strategy, as well as the environmental and social commitments.  

The main finding of the report is that Formula E can significantly contribute to remove electric vehicle market barriers and to create positive externalities and value for society over the next 25 years:

  • 57-77M additional EVs sold around the world over the next 25 years
  • 900M tonnes of CO2 avoided – the equivalent of Italy’s annual emissions over 2 years
  • 25BN€ of savings on healthcare costs and productivity from pollution reduction

Global Electric Vehicle Report 2016

Formula E aspires to pioneer and accelerate the change towards an electric future through our innovative city street racing.  Alongside our partners, we wish to show how electric vehicles will revolutionise everyday transportation and have a positive impact on people and the environment through the showcasing, research and development of electric cars in order to provide a solution to air pollution in city centres.

The transport sector currently accounts for nearly a quarter (23%) of global energy related greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. Wide scale global deployment of EVs across all modes of transport is vital to meet sustainability targets, and is key to the future of sustainable transport systems. The Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate Change and Call to Action sets a global deployment target of 100 million electric cars and 400 million electric two and three wheelers in 2030. With the goals of the Paris Conference to lower average global temperatures to 2°C by 2030, the transport industry will be required to contribute one fifth of the total reductions of GHG emissions. This has set out an ambitious yet opportunity for substantial market growth for EVs.

Between 2014 and 2015 the registration of electric cars rose by 70%, with over 1.26 million EVs on the road at the end of 2015. The two main electric car markets are China and the United States. In 2015, seven countries have reached over 1% of the EV market share: Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, France, China and the United Kingdom.

The report outlines how the government and people have succeeded in demonstrating that EVs can deliver affordability, practicality, safety and sustainable characteristics. This has been supported by ambitious targets and policies which endeavoured to lower the associating costs, extend the range and reduce global consumer barriers to the EV market.

The key barriers to the EV market include EV infrastructure and battery costs and range. The report states battery development has shown encouraging growth over the last 10 years to hit targets from carmakers and the United States Energy Ministry.

The report draws attention to the benefits of investment in EV roll out to support the transition to low carbon economies, limit the effects of climate change (When EVs are put onto a decarbonised grid), reduce carbon intensity of transport energy carriers, reduce GHG emissions in power generation, support the integration of RE in the power generation mix, improves air quality and reduces noise. 

If you would like to read the full report, please follow this link