After years in the wilderness, electric cars are back. And the latest generation of zero-emissions vehicles is creating a sea change in the automotive marketplace as a whole.
Battery-powered passenger cars like the Tesla Model S are all well and good, but the impact of this technology on the world of motorsport is arguably what will help this segment to gain momentum going forwards.
Formula E, the electric rival to traditional Formula 1, has just unveiled its next-generation racer. But is this competition a flash in the pan or something that will stick around for years to come?
Since the first Formula E season was held in 2014, a number of restrictions have been in place on the sport, perhaps preventing it from attaining the same level of interest as its incumbent rivals.
Battery capacity for cars was fixed at 28kWh, meaning that teams needed to field two different vehicles in order to complete a race without a recharge involved.
Top speeds were also capped at 140mph, which looks relatively sedate compared with the 200mph speeds that F1 drivers achieve on a regular basis.
Even with fast-charge hardware and the latest electrical control components from companies like http://www.osmelectrical.com/, it takes around 12 minutes for a Formula E vehicle to have its battery refilled. And in a world where pit stops should take seconds, this is not good enough.
2018 is set to be an exciting year for Formula E, with the most significant upgrade coming in the form of higher-capacity batteries. The 54kWh cells that are allowable when the new season kicks off in the autumn will let cars complete races with no swap-over.
Further details about the specs of the standardised vehicle design will be announced on the 6th of March, but the early images released by organisers show that there will also be a sleek new design on the cards. It has already drawn comparisons with the Bat Mobile, with its swooping flanks and impressive rear wing and diffuser combination.
The Formula E vehicles may not generate the same guttural engine screams as their petrol-powered counterparts, but the high-pitched whine of their electric motors and the performance improvements that are just around the corner could be enough to elevate them higher in the public consciousness.