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And We Go Green

Review by Carlos A. Stecher

Through the haze of carbon dioxide racecar emissions, a new series of motor racing has risen, Formula E.

The concept of an electric car racing series was started by Alejandro Agag, Antonio Tajani, and Jean Todt over lunch in Paris. Electricity, and therefore zero-emission, as a means of propulsion is a natural progression away from fossil fuel. 

“We need to find a green Formula One. That’s where the big business of the future is going to be.”

Alejandro Agag, founder of Formula E and current chairman of Formula E Holdings

Since the inception of motorsports in the 1950s, the evolution of the sport has seen carburetors and manual transmissions give way to fuel injection and semi-automatic gearboxes, and now to electric motors.

Familiar automakers such as Audi, Jaguar, Nissan, and BMW are now backing the Formula E series. Automotive racing heavyweights Mercedes-Benz and Porsche have signed on for season six. 

The key to Formula E starts with the electric racing motors which are charged by zero-emission generators. This fully eliminates the all the harmful emissions an internal combustion racing engine would normally produce. All the teams are bound to the same electrical equipment, but the software used to manage the electricity in each car is the variable between teams.

Directed by Fisher Stevens and Malcolm Venville, And We Go Green chronicles the rivalry between the top Formula E drivers, most of which used to race in Formula 1. Jean-Eric Vergne, a.k.a. “JEV”, is the Lewis Hamilton of Formula E. Along with Sam Bird, Lucas Di Grassi, Andre Lotterer, and Nelson Piquet, Jr., they represent the top drivers in the series.

The series format started in 2014 with two cars per team. At a point in the race, the car would pit and the driver would switch to a fully charged second car and continue the race. Then in 2018, the Gen. 2 battery was developed so only one racecar is now needed to complete the required number of laps on a single charge.

Oscar winner, Leonardo DiCaprio, a long-time critic of climate change, has a keen interest in the future of electric motorsports. He served as executive producer and appears in one part of the documentary learning the process of Formula E. He even gets to taste the environmentally friendly and human safe glycol that powers the zero-emission generators to charge the electric racing motors!

This documentary shows the possibilities of zero emission racing technology while still capturing the romance of the sport. A must see for anyone interested in green technology and auto racing.

Raquel’s thoughts: And We Go Green legitimizes a growing, environmentally minded faction of an otherwise unsustainable sport. It caters more to car enthusiasts than environmentalists but there is still a lot to take away from this fascinating documentary.

And We Go Green premieres today on Hulu.

Carlos A. Stecher is a dedicated automobile enthusiast who is lamenting the death of the manual transmission. Follow him on Instagram @LiveFastLookGood and on his blog Live Fast Look Good.

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