FIA president Jean Todt says it was important to create an electric motorsport series like Formula E.
Todt invited CNN's Supercharged presenter Nicki Shields to his office in the Place de la Concorde in central Paris to discuss his future vision for electric technology.
Todt was instrumental in founding Formula E, the global racing series for electric cars. "It was important to create a specific series that could be adapted to the needs of the cities, because we need to increase the use of electric cars in our cities," Todt told CNN.
Todt (center) toured the globe as team principal of the Ferrari F1 team from 1994 to 2007. Here he is with drivers Felipe Massa (left) and seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher (right) in 2006.
Rush hour traffic normally rumbles through the Place de la Concorde, seen here on a rare car-free day organized by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo in 2015.
Traffic jams aren't a new problem for city centers. Here is what rush hour looked like in the Place de la Concorde in 1971.
Spring time in Paris hummed with the more tranquil sound of Formula E cars with the first-ever Paris ePrix. Todt hopes the series will help persuade drivers to switch to electric-powered cars.
Formula E is targeting new city-centre venues for season three and beyond, including Hong Kong and New York. "I'm sure we will be racing in all the major cities around the world, it's just going to blow!" predicted Formula E champion Nelson Piquet Jr, seen here on the Paris grid.
The sport's fans are also enjoying the blend of motorsport and city attractions. "What could be better than Paris and London?" says Diane Bird, the mother of DS Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird.
More than 20,000 fans were said to have packed the grandstands around Les Invalides complex in Paris but many more watched the electric car racing from makeshift pews.