‘We got the power …’ How the Formula E Cape Town E-Prix deal with Stage 6 load shedding

FILE - Cape Town is readying itself for the first ever Formula E race in the city. Photo: Supplied

FILE - Cape Town is readying itself for the first ever Formula E race in the city. Photo: Supplied

Published Feb 20, 2023


Cape Town - South Africa is currently in the grips of it’s electricity crisis as Eskom announced that the country would be on stage 6 load shedding until further notice in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Sadly this is nothing new but with the Cape Town ePrix taking place this weekend, the lack of electricity at an electric event would concern fans.

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Cape Town is in the final stages of preparation to host it’s first ever Formula E race on Saturday. The event was set to held in 2022, but was moved to this year due to the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Co-founder and chairperson of e-Movement, Iain Banner explained just how the Cape Town ePrix will be able to continue despite the electricity dilemma.

“We have a primary power plan with the City of Cape Town, which provides us with the power we require, other than to the car charges, so there is a big eco system here. But as is standard at every Formula E race globally, there is a full set of back-up in the form of generators running on bio-fuel because this is all about sustainability,” Banner said.

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“We have a total of 28 generators, which had to be sourced and I undertook it personally, it’s a massive job when every little bit of supply is being absorbed to counter the terrible energy loss that businesses, homes, etc are experiencing. So, it was one of the most challenging elements of it, but the last generator is a 1.4MW machine and will be is rolling in at midday today to come and finish up the charging.”

Banner added that charging a Formula E car requires an immense amount of energy.

“The cars are charged by these generations because the instant energy demand is 2MW, which is a huge amount of power and we aren’t situated on a substation, we are out in an open area outside of the stadium so that is actually front-line and back-line generators for the car charging,” he said.