World's first Formula E racing car made completely out of e-waste

Envision Racing's automobile is made of donated electronic devices from the UK tech company Music Magpie and schoolchildren.
Jijo Malayil
Envison Racing's Formula E Gen3 ‘Recover-E’ car
Envison Racing's Formula E Gen3 ‘Recover-E’ car

Envision Racing  

Aiming at a more sustainable world, the Formula E racing team Envision Racing has unveiled a full-size, drivable car made entirely from electronic waste (e-waste). 

The company hopes that its Formula E Gen3 ‘Recover-E’ car, which is entirely made of electronic waste, sheds light on the concerning issue of e-waste generation across the globe. 

For the project, Envision Racing collaborated with British artist and designer Liam Hopkins to design and construct the automobile entirely out of donated electronic devices from the UK tech company Music Magpie and schoolchildren. The car features donated electronic products, including iPhones, chargers, laptops, batteries, and single-use vapes as part of its body. "Through this campaign, the team wants to increase awareness of the human impact of e-waste and the need to reuse and recycle old electrical products," said a blog post by the firm. 

Envision Racing is part of the Envision Group, a Shanghai-headquartered smart energy technology company. The firm has been part of Formula E since 2014, which is a single-seater motorsport championship for electric cars, which was introduced in 2012 to further the electrification of the automobile industry, acting as a platform for testing and developing road-relevant technologies and serving as a catalyst for sustainable mobility solutions.

E-waste generation to reach 75m tonnes

Of late, technological advancements and its large-scale adoption have resulted in a surge in e-waste generation, with its output estimated to reach a whopping 75 million tonnes by 2031, with the UK ranking second in the world in terms of e-waste generation in 2022.

According to the company, disposable vapes, mobile phones, computers, MP3 players, plugs, and batteries are among the most common items discarded. Because of the rising popularity of single-use vapes, 1.3 million are discarded weekly in the United Kingdom.

Through such a demonstration, it wants to highlight the potential of reuse if millions upon millions of Lithium batteries used in vapes and other devices are recycled. Such an effort will significantly lessen the demand for rare earth material mining and the energy required to build the batteries from scratch.

 “Unfortunately, today, we choose to discard and replace electronics instead of repairing and recycling them, leading to a global e-waste crisis. Through design and creativity, we want to show the issue of e-waste and its potential to accelerate the creation of a circular economy," said Liam Hopkins.

Envision Racing has also initiated the Recover E-Waste to Race initiative to involve young people and fans worldwide. Children and teenagers were asked to design their e-waste automobiles from recovered electronic parts.

 “Alongside testing new battery technology for cars, we are on a mission to tackle e-waste and ensure the precious metals, minerals, and materials in old laptops, mobile phones, and other electrical devices are extracted and reused," said Sylvain Filippi, Envision Racing’s Managing Director and CTO.

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