Friday 26 May 2017

Racing driver takes electric car on to Arctic ice in climate change warning

Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi takes his electric racing car for a spin on the ice sheet inside the Arctic circle
Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi takes his electric racing car for a spin on the ice sheet inside the Arctic circle

The world's first all-electric racing series has driven a car on Arctic ice to raise awareness of the melting of the polar cap.

Brazilian race-winning FIA Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi took an electric racing car out on the ice for series of runs on the ice sheet inside the Arctic circle in the north of Greenland.

The event, undertaken with the help of the Greenland government, aimed to raise awareness of climate change and the role electric cars can play in cutting the greenhouse gas emissions driving up temperatures and melting the ice.

The driver, who hopes to better his runner-up position in last year's championship, said: "It was such a beautiful, peaceful place.

"To come here and see how huge the ice cap is and how the effect of global warming is changing it, melting it, gives me a completely different understanding of what we are doing with Formula E and the importance of driving electric cars."

The drive comes as the world is on track for another record breaking hot year.

In the Arctic, the sea ice suffered record low winter cover last winter and is experiencing another summer of ice melting far greater than the long-term average.

And the vast Greenland ice sheet - which covers most of Greenland, stretching over an area three times the size of Texas - is shrinking in the face of rising temperatures.

To learn more about the effects of the melting ice cap, Formula E teamed up with Southampton University.

During the trip a tracking beacon was placed on an iceberg which had broken away from the ice sheet to research behaviour of the ice in the open ocean

Formula E's chief executive Alejandro Agag said: "I have four children and the future of the planet depends on how we can control the effect that human life is having on the environment and the climate.

"That is why I think climate change is very important to address, to control, to face, and everyone can do something. We do something for motorsport, other people can do something from whatever they do in their lives."

Prince Albert II of Monaco, whose foundation was among those organisations and companies backing the event, said: " My foundation recognises the role that electric vehicles can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and believes that Formula E can inspire a new generation of motorists and potential motorists to 'drive electric' and help in the fight against global warming through high-profile activations like this."

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