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TheStreet Open House

Could new Formula E races help galvanize electric car stocks?

By Ben Levine for Kapitall.

Late in 2012 the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the group that brought us Formula One racing, announced a new class of auto racing: the new Formula E Championship, which will feature only electrically powered racing cars. 

The races will begin in September and, like Formula One, the new championship will feature races in cities all around the world.

Confirmed race locations include Beijing (putting some relics of the 2008 Olympic Games to some use, such as the neglected  Bird’s Nest stadium), Buenos Aires, Miami, Los Angeles, Berlin and London.

And the Championship is still adding locations—Formula E is in talks with the city of New York about the possibility of a race through The Big Apple.  

In 2013 the Formula One event had total television viewership of 450 million people for the entire tour. That isn't as good as the 700 million people who watched the 2012 World Cup finale, but it's still 40 times larger than the TV audience for this year's Olympic Closing Ceremony. 

Both benchmarks are probably a ways off for Formula E. Its chief executive, Alejandro Agag, forecast a total viewership of just over 205 million people in its first year. While this would constitute less than half of the viewership of Formula One, which began in 1950, it’s only reasonable that the new electric-only race would need some time to gain popularity.

This kind of viewership could provide advertising opportunities for car companies seeking to promote electric or hybrid vehicles, like Nissan and Tesla (TSLA) who dominated electric car market share for the first half of 2013 (at 45.7% and 42%, respectively). 

Toyota (TM) could also potentially see a boost, considering their similar dominance of the  hybrid vehicles, with a 68.05% share of the market.

Though these are the biggest players, Ford (F) trailed behind in both markets, making up 4.1% of the first half of 2013’s electric car market share and 15.65% of April’s hybrid car market share. 

Do you think the races could help out companies that produce electricity-powered cars and their parts? Take a look at the list below to decide for yourself.

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