In February, Cape Town hosted the 5th round of the Formula E World Championship. This was the first time that this event had been held on African soil. A 7-day, co-located festival called the E-Fest was conceptualized by the race promoter as a celebration of Go Green Africa, a commitment to playing a meaningful role in helping to accelerate Africa’s transition to a “Green Economy” in a just and inclusive way.
The events provided an incredible opportunity for businesses in the associated sectors to network and also to raise awareness in areas around electric mobility and sustainability for the wider audience attending the E-Prix and the E-Fest.
The race promoter, e-Movement, partnered with VUKA Group to launch E-Fest. The VUKA Group says it works to bring people and organizations together to connect with information and each other in meaningful conversations to reach the next level of growth in their industry ecosystem. E-Fest complements its extensive portfolio of Africa-focused events and media titles focused on the mining, energy, mobility, retail, and the green economy sectors.
The E-Fest comprised a mix of events and entertainment that celebrated sustainability, alternative e-mobility, and renewable energy solutions for South Africa and the African continent.
Iain Banner, Chairman of e-Movement and the founder of Go Green Africa (GGA), comments on the concept of E-Fest: “From the very outset I knew there was a dual need that had to be satisfied to make sense of bringing Formula E to South Africa. The first was that there had to be real purpose behind the race, and the second that we needed to provide additional marketing opportunities for sponsors and supporters. This formed our purpose; we then conceptualised a seven-day co-located E-Fest to support GGA and the E-Prix. For E-Fest ELECTRIC, Africa’s Green Economy Summit and its evrt property, we chose to partner with VUKA Group. Race ticket holders got to experience this first ever E-Fest ELECTRIC, and now, a fantastic platform has been set for years to come.”
Here is a summary of some of the key events held as part of the E-Fest and the week leading up to the E-Prix.
- Africa’s Green Economy Summit
This event was launched with the intention to connect the African and global investor community to African project owners through business executives, governments, cities, and policy makers, paving the way for an equitable and inclusive green economy and a sustainable future. This year’s theme was “Driving the Green Economy Investment Strategy.”
“Having secured an incredible list of speakers, we expected up to 250 delegates for this intimate event, but we opened with more than 350 in attendance for the opening keynote, sponsored by the Gautrain Management Agency, which included formal welcome addresses from Premiere Alan Winde of the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, who both spoke positively of the commitment to a more sustainable future for the region through a focus on driving an inclusive green economy,” said David Ashdown, CEO of VUKA Group.
“It was a great success. Besides the various presentations and discussions, we had entrepreneurs pitching projects to investors at our pitch deck lounge, and our concierge match-making service set up in excess of 120 meetings, with one project securing US$2 million in seed funding on the day. That is the excitement of creating a deal-making environment. We’ve created a very robust platform to build from for the future.”
- evrt (Electric Vehicle Road Trip)
evrt 2024 was launched from the Silo District at the Waterfront at the beginning of race weekend. By invitation, guests were able to jump into 12 branded electric vehicles and drive roads that included the world-famous Chapmans Peak Drive. En-route, the drivers completed a recharge challenge that demonstrated the ability modern EVs have to recharge their battery while under motion.
Banner explained that evrt plays a role in educating and raising awareness around clean energy and EVs, and addresses concerns around range. The evrt Road Trip 2024 will see a range of electric vehicles driving from Pretoria to Cape Town over 10 days, arriving at the racetrack to showcase EV technology at next year’s race weekend.
- E-Fest ELECTRIC
On race day, the E-Fest ELECTRIC event opened within the E-Prix precinct, adjacent to the racetrack. Racegoers were able to test-drive electric vehicles, bikes, and scooters, and to learn more about various rechargers, batteries, and inverters. Over 750 EV test drives took place. At the E-Prix itself, VUKA Group project-managed the delivery of two Allianz-sponsored Fan Villages across the precinct for the 26,500 race ticket holders.
“It was an immensely rewarding week and I’m incredibly proud that VUKA Group was part of the Formula E project and its first-ever race on the African continent,” says Ashdown. “With our partners e-Movement, our sponsors, delegates, and speakers, and of course the 26,500 racegoers, we’ve got a winning formula and it feels amazing to be writing a part of history. E-Fest will continue to evolve and grow as we work towards our aligned purpose-driven objectives in this space. I am very grateful to Iain and the whole e-Movement team who demonstrated their trust in us, and we are excited by the respect and complementary nature of our relationship.”
Banner added: “Going forward, I see the Cape Town E-Prix as our annual celebration of sustainability and nett zero. I am most grateful to David and his team for the part they played in helping realise our dream.”
The E-Prix’s Street Circuit
The Cape Town E-Prix showcased Formula E’s third Generation cars, which reach top speeds of 320 kph, racing on the track that runs from Vlei Road, down Beach Road in Mouille Point, and Fritz Sonnenberg Road. The cars also raced their way through the Green Point and Waterfront precincts, with Signal Hill and other famous Cape Town landmarks as the track backdrop. It was a pretty awesome experience for the people who were in Cape Town for the event. These kinds of events will go a long way in raising awareness around electric mobility.
Here is a video of highlights from the race day:
Image and event summary courtesy of the Vuka Group
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