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Los Angeles to Host Electronic Car Race

Los Angeles will become the first American city to host a Formula E race featuring exclusively electronic cars.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced that in 2014 Los Angeles will be hosting a Formula E Race featuring exclusively electronic cars.

"Imagine a city long synonymous with smog, becoming the showcase for the cars that are pointing the way to a more sustainable transportation future," said Villaraigosa.

Los Angeles was selected by the race promoters Formula E Holdings in part as a result of the city's efforts to build an electronic vehicle infrastructure, most notably the efforts of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Some of these efforts include the upgrading or installing of 121 public electric vehicle charging stations and streamlining the permitting process necessary to upgrade electrical panels in homes and businesses as part of the Charge Up LA program. 

The iconic look of the city also played a role in the selection.

"Los Angeles' iconic landmarks provide a perfect backdrop to bring to life the excitement of Formula E racing, while at the same time, inspiring people to believe in the electric vehicle for their own personal use," said Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E Holdings.

"Let me tell you, these are not your grandma's Priuses," said Villaraigosa.

The electronic cars that will be raced are closer to Indy cars than Priuses, reaching speeds of up to 140 mph. They do run almost silently, apart from the screeching of tires, much like the Prius.

"Its much nicer, you can hear much more stuff. You are much more in control of everything that's happening on the car," said Lucas Digrassi, a Formula E Driver.

He says there is still one major problem still with the electronic race cars.

"The battery runs for very little time. So with this car at the moment we have 20-25 minutes of battery at full power. It will be nice to have more but that depends on technology not on our efforts," said Digrassi.

Agag says he sees this challenge as one of the things that makes the race so exciting.

"The cars are changed in the pit stops. So the driver has two cars. He goes into the pitstop, jumps out of one car, runs a little bit and gets into the second car," said Agag.

The official race course and spectator seating information has yet to be released.

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