If there was any doubt that future mobility solutions will be electric, consider this—one in four new cars sold in Europe, and one in five in China, now comes with a plug. Who would have thought ten years ago that 20%–25% of new car sales in these regions would be electric as early as 2021? The transition away from petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles is firmly underway. It is not a question of if, but of how fast electric vehicles (EVs) will spread and eventually replace traditional internal-combustion-engine vehicles altogether.
The increased oil price and pent-up demand bode well for auto sales. New models, crisis-related subsidy schemes and climate regulation will drive the shift towards plug-in cars. We have entered the decade of electric mobility. Several automakers are showing a credible journey towards offering economic, long-range and clean EVs. We see plug-in market shares rising towards 80% by 2035. Consumer interest is strong, partly sweetened by subsidies from governments as the climate change topic is now a firm fixture on politicians’ agendas. Crucially, though, there is also an ever-increasing offering from carmakers and this seems to be the main driving force of the shift towards EVs.
Julius Baer is convinced that the future of mobility is electric and has been partnering with ABB FIA Formula E World Championship since back in 2014. While the world’s first fully electric racing series has been designed to thrill and entertain, it also aims to educate and innovate. “With its visionary approach, Formula E shares many values with Julius Baer such as innovation, sustainability and a forward-thinking, pioneering spirit. The impact that our actions today will have on the next generation is central to both organizations,” highlights Albert Henriques, CEO at Bank Julius Baer Monaco. As a founding partner, Julius Baer was able to observe how Formula E has been driving progress and accelerating change ever since the very first race in various ways.
Founded with purpose
The idea for an all-electric street racing series started out as notes on a napkin. Alejandro Agag, Founder of Formula E and former FIA President Jean Todt had dinner in a restaurant in Paris when they collected their thoughts in just a few sentences on what would become the first ever all-electric world championship. Formula E’s founding mission was to show what sustainable mobility was capable of, by racing electric vehicles for a cleaner tomorrow. Since the first race in Beijing in 2014, Formula E has been driving its environmental, economic and social initiatives to create awareness and is ultimately racing for a better future.
“E-mobility has become a pressing issue for business, the scientific community and wider society all around the world,” Henriques explains. “Julius Baer was very quick to pick up on this and committed itself to Formula E before the first race season had even started. The Bank has always been concerned with the bigger picture—the contribution to fulfilling a higher purpose that Formula E is making in developing new technologies for our society. This is what prompted us to take stake in the racing series.”
Becoming one of the founding partners of the FIA Smart Cities initiative in 2016 was the next logical step for Julius Baer. This international contest sees start-ups and stakeholders from the worlds of politics, business and science come together to discuss possible solutions for closing the gaps in our current mobility systems. “For Julius Baer, sustainability is far more than a responsibility we have towards our clients, employees, investors and society—it is an opportunity to take an active role in creating value for generations to come. We have embarked on a sustainability journey to strengthen our strategy ‘How we invest today is how we will live tomorrow.’ This guiding principle is also reflected in our partnerships, it is a window to future mobility and smart cities, displaying the potential of sustainable power and innovative technology. The FIA initiatives enable us to contribute to the discussion in an age where it becomes ever more pressing to redefine a new model for sustainable and urban mobility.”
After six seasons of racing on the streets of the most progressive cities across the globe, Formula E gained World Championship status in 2020 to become the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. This truly put Formula E in the top tier of international single-seater racing. Since Formula E started its journey, the all-electric racing series has undoubtedly gone from strength to strength. Within a short timeframe, the series has proven itself relevant for the automotive industry.
In 2020, Formula E announced that it had become the first sport with a net zero carbon footprint since inception. The all-electric racing series was able to offset emissions from previous seasons by actively investing in certified projects in all of its race regions. The three key steps in achieving the net zero carbon target were effective measurement of carbon output, prioritizing a reduction of its footprint and offsetting remaining unavoidable emissions.
Driving a technological revolution
Despite the fact that Formula E is just eight seasons old, the technology around the track always evolved and has undergone wide-ranging changes over time. The championship has waved goodbye to that initial Gen1 era of mid-race car swaps and welcomed the next step in technology with the Gen2 car in Season 5. More power and almost twice the usable energy capacity results in more than 45 minutes of race action, a 0 to 100 sprint in 2.8 seconds and a top-speed of up to 280 km/h. Next year, in Season 9, the Gen3 car will represent another leap forward in terms of on-track performance as it’s going to be more sustainably produced than ever before.
“We are pleased to enable our clients and employees to be part of the Formula E experience and invite them to the different races of the season, for example in the Americas, where Julius Baer has been enjoying steady growth over the last years, and in Monaco, where Formula E has now become an annual highly anticipated event,” says Fabio Machado, Head of LATAM at Bank Julius Baer Monaco. “The fascination that spectators feel when they encounter pioneering technologies at first hand opens up completely new perspectives and sources of inspiration for them, while also showcasing our expertise in investing in megatrends.”
On the road, the number of electric car models has increased by more than six times since Formula E’s first season, with more than 175 models now available in Europe. As with the Gen2 car, and the continuing evolution of Formula E’s on-track tech, range and battery capacity has also moved on leaps in consumer EVs. As technology develops, electric cars will be able to go faster and further. The pace of development is incredible. The point at which electric cars are cheaper, safer and easier to operate than combustion engine cars is not far away at all and Formula E is accelerating that process. Combustion simply won’t be able to keep up.
Leaving a legacy
After a close Season 7 with Nick de Vries winning the championship in the very last race, the only thing that will be predictable in Formula E is unpredictability. The commitment and professionalism of each team is mirrored in the quality of the driver roster. The championship has become a destination for the world’s best motorsport teams and racing talent. In seven seasons, we saw six different champions. This year 11 teams and 22 drivers are fighting for the title. And with some big brands already confirmed for next season, the grid will become even more competitive.
There is still a lot that needs to be done on gender diversity. With the “Girls on Track” initiative, Formula E seeks to push forward the FIA’s goal of gender equality and increased participation in motorsport. Formula E has been hosting the program since its inception, inviting young women aged between 8 and 18 to discover different aspects of the motorsport industry through activities and workshops promoting inclusivity in an innovative, engaging and positive manner. The initiative is a core pillar of Formula E’s commitment to provide young women with opportunities across motorsport.
With sustainability at heart, Formula E continues to deliver a better future through the power of electric racing. As a role model in this field, Formula E is working with its partners to ensure 100% of tires, batteries and broken chassis are recycled after use. Furthermore, the power of the cars comes from 100% green energy and when it comes to race weekend activities, it’s the only motorsport series to hold a certification for sustainable events. As our planet continues to face environmental challenges, Formula E has and will continue to ensure that everything they do leaves positive, tangible legacies.
To ensure the championship continues to advance its vision and objectives, Formula E reports and evaluates progress annually, using recognitions to reinforce and legitimize its efforts.
Henriques is clear: “The bank’s business success is founded on its counter-cyclical attitude. Where others hesitate, Julius Baer seeks out opportunities and has the knack for exploiting them. The excellent reputation as a window on the future that Formula E has carved out for itself vindicates our proactive decision-making. We are proud to have contributed to the success of the racing series right from day one.”