Formula E has voiced their aim for several new cities to host an E-Prix over the coming seasons, with Auckland promoters “still considering” pursing a future event but admit the exorbitant hosting fees and infrastructure costs would likely see any race in New Zealand pushed back for several years.
Rumours of a race around the streets of Auckland intensified in late 2018 when a private group led by Vector Energy, the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC), the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and Drive Electric opened discussions with Formula E.
The intention was to have the series electrify the streets of Auckland as early as 2020 though ultimately nothing materialised while the global pandemic would likely have thwarted any initial plans.
But according to Formula E’s co-founder and championship manager Alberto Longo, upwards of 26 cities have lodged interest for a possible E-Prix in future seasons.
While the series remains coy on what cities are featured on that list, the series has openly admitted its desires to expand itself globally into Asia-Pacific, South America and Scandinavia.
Formula E obligates each potential host city to write a formal letter of interest to the series which leads onto a feasibility study to evaluate the technical and logistical requirements the sport will need to operate an E-Prix.
General Manager for Destination ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) Steve Armitage has today confirmed a feasibility study for a race in Auckland occurred late last year which suggests Auckland was included on the list of potential host cities before the pandemic.
However, a subsequent cost-evaluation of the event has seen plans halted with a lack of financial commitment delaying the event further.
“Hosting a Formula E event in Auckland that promotes advanced clean technology, and with the potential to generate visitation and exposure for our region, is worth close consideration,” Armitage told Velocity News.
“We undertook an initial event feasibility in late 2019 regarding the potential to a host a round of Formula E in Auckland, albeit in a pre-COVID environment.
“The findings at that time concluded that any proposed event would require a substantial investment.
“No further work has been undertaken since then and we have not received a formal approach to revisit this.”
With two New Zealand drivers set to take on the series next year in the shape of proven title contender Mitch Evans and multiple motorsport champion Nick Cassidy, it would be hoped backers of the event will regather momentum and push to have the series come to our shores.
Now in its sixth season, Formula E has visited 17 different countries with the majority of races held in Europe while just one race in Sanya, an on-again, off-again love affair with Hong Kong and a failed attempt to stage a race in Beijing the series only venture into the Asia-Pacific region.
A second race in the Asia-Pacific region is an important goal for Formula E with three Chinese-owned teams and several manufacturers situated there.
The truncated 2020 calendar resumes with a string of six races around the Berlin Tempelhof Airport circuit starting on August 5.