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Electric race makes debut in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A new electric race car is set to get the star treatment on the Las Vegas Strip.

Organizers of the FIA Formula E Championship, the first series exclusively for electric cars, are giving racing aficionados their first chance to see a fully-electric car in action.

Brazilian driver Lucas di Grassi is expected to show off the capabilities of the Spark-Renault SRT-01E Formula E car during a test drive at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino Monday.

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag will be in attendance, as will IndyCar racer Gil de Ferran and Boston Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck.

''It's going to be a fantastic spectacle and a great way for us to start the New Year in a very positive way,'' Agag said in a statement. ''2014 is, of course, a very big year for Formula E with the championship starting in Beijing in September. Before then we want to showcase this amazing fully-electric car to as many people as possible so they can see, and hear, what to look forward to.''

The event is timed to coincide with the annual Consumer Electronics Show, a giant gadget expo that began in Las Vegas on Monday.

The car, designed by Spark Racing Technologies, can reach more than 150 mph.

Formula E is slated to debut next September and run through June 2015 on street courses that cut through major world cities, including Beijing, London and Los Angeles.

The series is expected to consist of one-hour races. The car batteries will last up to 25 minutes at a time, so drivers will have to switch cars during the race while their batteries recharge.

Last month, actor Leonardo DiCaprio announced that he was getting into the environmentally friendly race-car business. The leading man is partnering with Venturi Automobiles to enter a team in the championship.

Other teams include IndyCar's Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing, ex-Formula 1 team Super Aguri, Audi-backed Abt and Richard Branson's Virgin.

Teams will have two drivers and four series-provided, single-seat cars in the first season. Renault has signed on as the car manufacturer, but series officials expect three to five manufacturers in the second season. Michelin is the tire supplier.

Fox Sports has signed a multi-year deals with the FIA Formula E Championship and the International Motor Sports Association.


Hannah Dreier can be reached at

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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