FIA's Todt: Formula 1 unlikely to be fully-electric in near future

FIA president Jean Todt believes Formula 1 will not become fully-electric for decades, if at all

FIA's Todt: Formula 1 unlikely to be fully-electric in near future

Formula E has begun its sixth season and boasts leading car manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Nissan and Jaguar, while Porsche and Mercedes joined the ranks for 2019/20.

Meanwhile, F1 has continued to use its V6 turbo-hybrid power units and will remain of similar architecture into the new era that begins in 2021.

But while FE has proven to be a manufacturer haven and F1 is unlikely to add new entrants before 2021, Todt believes fully-electric power will be unable to meet F1's demands in the near future.

Todt believes retaining the hybrid power unit and that it can be made more environmentally friendly through the increased use of bio-sustainable fuel.

"At the moment you can only consider F1 with a hybrid engine," said Todt. "You cannot envisage FE substituting F1. 300kms [race distance]? There is not one [electric] race car able to do 300km at the F1 speed today.

"It will be decades before it can happen, if it does happen.

"Today hybrid is the proper choice, the next step is to see how we can secure greener fuels."

Todt's view is shared by Mercedes' F1 engine chief Andy Cowell, who believes F1 can make gains by developing bio-sustainable technology in the future.

Speaking to Autosport about Todt's predictions of F1 not going electric for decades, Cowell said "It is all down to the storage technology. If it's lithium-ion then his time frame is correct.

"If you go for a hydrogen solution, then that can be done today, but the cars would be a lot, lot, heavier and a lot bulkier than they are today, at which point I think you lose the F1 aspect of it.

"So I think that is why the steps that we're taking for 2021 are important, where we're introducing a 10% bio-sustainable fuel.

"If we can, with the next generation of power units, develop an engine around 100% sustainable fuel then there is a huge amount of carbon dioxide that we could convert into liquid hydrocarbon-based fuel.

"So let's leave all the carbon that's captured in the earth in the form of gas and crude oil and so on. Let's just leave that there.

"The planet has done a great job of capturing that, so let's capture some out of the sky, rather than out of the ground.

"Let's create liquid fuels and a 60% thermal efficient engine, at which point it's not about throwing the internal combustion [element] away.

"It's about adapting that and the petrochemical companies adapting to carbon capture and so on. I think that's the 10-20 year future."

F1 chairman Chase Carey says F1 can showcase the benefits of hybrid technology as road manufacturer evaluate their direction in the road car market.

Carey said: "I think the hybrid engine can be, in many ways, one of the most important, if not the most important, component of addressing a billion-plus cars out there today with combustion engines.

"And we can, through initiatives like fuels, fuel technology, and energy recapture, continue to make that space."

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