Experts at Southampton University have teamed up with former F1 driver and current Formula E driver, Lucas di Grassi, to raise awareness of global warming by taking an electric car out for a spin on the ice sheets of Greenland.
Greenland is home to the world’s second largest ice sheet but has seen summer melting of the sheet increase by over 30% over the last 30 years due to global warming. This is contributing to the global issue of rising sea levels but also locally, as glaciers split into pieces earthquakes are occurring.
On set for yet another record breaking hot year, the Greenland government along with Southampton University and Formula E are hoping to raise the awareness of this issue with the series of drives they conducted. Southampton University experts provided detailed knowledge of the effects of the melting ice caps to help educate as well as raise awareness.
Many people may not be familiar with Formula E: it’s a new racing series that had its first season in 2014/15 and features only electrically powered cars, the first series of its kind in the world. Lucas di Grassi, who raced for Virgin Racing in the 2012 F1 season, won the first ever Formula E race and has since gone on to finish 3rd and 2nd overall in the two seasons so far. This year he is hoping to finish on top of the electrically powered motoring world. After completing the series of runs north of the Arctic Circle he commented:
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.
Electric cars certainly are starting to gain traction, with the number of plug in vehicles on the roads in the UK rising from 3,500 in 2013 to now over 80,000. Formula E is hoping to continue to promote the use of electric cars this year as its 2016/17 season is set to start on the 9th October in Hong Kong.