Formula E: Hong Kong race 'a massive step up'


      The electric revolution continues: Formula E is back


    The electric revolution continues: Formula E is back 01:33

    Story highlights

    • CNN Supercharged presenter reflects on Hong Kong ePrix
    • Nicki Shields says third season of Formula E promises to be the biggest so far

    (CNN)One down, 11 to go.

    Formula E kicked off its third season in Hong Kong on October 9 -- the first time the all-electric motorsport series has visited the city.
      With two brand new teams and new venues, including New York, set to host races this year, Formula E is putting electric car technology firmly on the map, hoping not only to grow the sport but also promote the use of electric cars in urban centers.
      Here, Nicki Shields, presenter of CNN's Supercharged show, gives her take on how Hong Kong fared as a host and how Formula E's popularity is charging forward.
      CNN: It was Formula E's first time in Hong Kong and also your first visit. What did you make of it?  
      Nicki Shields filming for CNN's Supercharged show at Hong Kong's famous Victoria Peak.
      Nicki Shields: "Hot! Very hot ... really, really hot! Us Brits always love to complain about the weather but now I'm home in London it's really cold and I hate it. I want to go back! 
      "Hong Kong is such a vibrant city — lots of hustle and bustle. What I loved about it is that it's very small, very intense -- it doesn't take long to get anywhere but each part has a slightly different feel. 
      Hong Kong's cosmopolitan streets and markets are awash with color and life.
      "I went to Ladies Market which has a great vibe. It's so chaotic with swarms of people, traffic, neon lights everywhere, tall buildings with air-con hanging out the back all dropping water on your head! There's something quite raw about it. 
      "So there's that side of the city, but then you've got the more glamorous, high-end areas -- you can go for drinks in your hotel before heading into Soho where there are loads of bars and whatever cuisine you want. It's very multicultural." 
      CNN: How did Hong Kong's Central Harborfront rate with other Formula E race venues you've visited? 
      The 1.8-kilometer Hong Kong track was located on the Central Harborfront.
      NS: "I think everyone was completely blown away by it. (Formula E CEO) Alejandro Agag always said he wanted to race in Hong Kong and it was fantastic to actually get there. We've raced in city centers before but never in such a prime location. 
      "No one -- from the team principals right down to the drivers, engineers and mechanics -- could quite believe we were racing in such an incredible location.
      "There was also a definite sense that Hongkongers were really behind it too -- they put on a mixed martial arts show on the Friday night and a concert on the Saturday all leading up to Sunday's race.  
      "But it wasn't just the track that was amazing, the eVillage was fantastic too. The car manufacturers -- Jaguar, BMW, Renault -- invested a lot of time and energy into it."
      There were many interactive games for fans to enjoy at the Hong Kong ePrix eVillage.
      CNN: What did you make of the track? Some of the drivers said it was a little short and quite narrow but how did it look to you?  
      NS: "As with all street circuits overtaking can be hard -- it's in their nature that they're narrow and Hong Kong was particularly so. But in terms with what we saw with the race there was plenty of overtaking -- these drivers always find a way to pass! We definitely saw more overtaking in Hong Kong than we did (at the London ePrix) in Battersea and they are quite similar in terms of width. 
      CNN: You've been covering Formula E since it started. How is it evolving?
      Renault's Sebastien Buemi racing around London's Battersea Park during season one.
      NS: "In the first championship (2014/15) all the teams started off with the same car and then in the second year there were changes to allow teams to invest in their own power trains, so you saw a couple of manufacturers investing -- Renault eDams spent a lot of money and it produced a very fast car."
      "In season three it's not just Renault -- all of them are investing. You've now got Faraday Future with Dragon Racing, BMW Motorsport partnering Andretti and a new Chinese team, Techeetah.
      "You can see when you walk down the pit lane that there's been huge amounts of investment -- NextEV has a mezzanine level this year -- and they've done the same with the cars.  
      "It feels like there's been a massive step up from season two to season three in terms of partners involved which I think is a sign that manufacturers are really believing in Formula E."