Formula E started as a mission to build awareness of electric vehicles and remind people about the constant battle our world is facing against climate change. Now, Envision Virgin Racing has put itself at the forefront of the climate change message, and together with Genpact they attempted to show the world the true effect of global warming.
In the build up towards the London E-Prix, Genpact and Envision Virgin Racing displayed a three-ton ice replica of their Gen 2 car outside Tower Bridge to see how much it would melt in a 24 hour period from Wednesday 21st of July to Thursday 22nd, with the event being called “Melting Point”. People from around the world could use Twitter to predict what the final percentage of melted ice would be, with one US dollar for every entry being donated to the Arctic Ice Project, a non-profit organization that’s restoring ice in the Arctic to slow climate change.
London was experiencing soaring temperatures of 30 degrees plus, which seems a world away from the overcast and damp weather conditions we actually saw for the E-Prix. However, my own guess of 84% of the car melting over the 24 hour time period may have been too optimistic, as the final figure was still a staggering 66%. That is effectively two tons of ice melting in 24 hours.
Envision Virgin Racing, a carbon-neutral organisation, firmly believe that they have the responsibility to ensure that they are the ones pushing the awareness of climate change and the effects that pollution is having on our planet, as the team’s operations director Jennifer Babington explained.
“We are a customer team in the series now, so we are not the ones truly progressing that electrification change in the automotive industry. Therefore, we felt it was our job to ensure that we are the ones ensuring that we continued to raise awareness of the ever-growing impacts of climate change on our world.”
“We have been very lucky to build up a great fanbase and a voice in general by being in Formula E, that allows us to ensure we can raise awareness about climate change. We have turned that into this concept known as race against climate change which we have had since the beginning.
“As a team, I think we are doing everything we can to ensure we are leaving little to no impact on our planet. We are a carbon-natural certified team by the carbon trust. We even have policies in place as a team to ensure we as individuals have a very limited impact on the Earth. This means we don’t use single use plastic on site, we use renewable energy to supply our offices, and using renewable transport when we can.
“Now, for us as a team the next step is to create ways to get our fans involved in these projects. We have created a pledge on our website that allows fans to go onto our website and measure your own impact on the planet and see how much carbon you are using as an individual, and then once you see your total we are hoping that the fans will become inspired to do something about it.
“It’s like the Melting Point event we had with Genpact. It is all about raising awareness and finding small things we can do in our lives that can make a difference, and if we all do it then that can lead to big changes in the future. ”
Envision Virgin Racing’s climate message has also had an effect on its partners. Genpact joined the team in season five to help improve the team’s performance related to their software and data analysis, but the American organisation quickly realised that their company could also do more to reduce their carbon footprint.
“We were originally brought in to help the team improve their on track performance,” stated Jay Scanlan, Senior Vice President at Genpact. “However, we quickly bought into the idea of the team’s climate change message and realised what more we could do as a company to reduce our effect on the world.
“As a company, we could see the team had a deeper purpose in raising awareness for climate change. So we started to discuss what types of analytics we needed to help the team make better decisions towards their goal of becoming a carbon-neutral team, which we at Genpact believe is equally as important as their on track performance.
“We found it amazing how the techniques we are using to help them perform better on the track, can also be used to help the team be more environmentally friendly. I think this partnership has also helped us become more aware of the damage that can be caused to the Earth. We already had made commitments to think about ways we can protect the planet, but this partnership has really elevated that to the next level.”
The Melting Point event was also certified as carbon neutral by the non-profit organization ‘A Greener Festival’, which is dedicated to improving the sustainability of events, tours, venues, and festivals. In addition, the London Bridge will collect the melted ice water in their bowser and it will be reused to water local community gardens.
The main takeaways from the event was how much the ice melted. Even taking into account the high temperatures in London, two tons of ice is an incredible amount, and if rising temperatures can cause ice to melt that quickly then we can only imagine what rising temperatures are doing to the ice caps.
Here at Formula E Zone, we’ve taken a pledge on the Envision Virgin Racing website to help reduce our carbon footprint, and we urge you to do the same. Hopefully together as one big racing community we can start the change towards a better tomorrow, today.