Meet the events team taking pole position on E-Fest
Photo Credit: Greg Beadle
The 5th round of the Formula E World Championship was held for the first time on African soil, in Cape Town on Saturday 25th February. To maximise the purpose-led event, a 7-day, co-located E-Fest was conceptualised by the race promoter as a celebration of Go Green Africa, a commitment to playing a meaningful role in helping to accelerate Africa’s transition to a “Green Economy” in a just and inclusive way.
The race promoter, e-Movement, partnered with VUKA Group to launch E-Fest, a mix of events and entertainment that celebrated sustainability, alternative e-mobility and renewable energy solutions for South Africa and the African continent.
Iain Banner, Chairman of e-Movement and the founder of Go Green Africa (GGA), comments on the concept of E-Fest: “From the very outset I knew there was a dual need that had to be satisfied to make sense of bringing Formula E to South Africa. The first was that there had to be real purpose behind the race, and the second that we needed to provide additional marketing opportunities for sponsors and supporters. This formed our purpose; we then conceptualised a seven-day co-located E-Fest to support GGA and the E-Prix.
“In order to realise and implement the project we needed trusted partners. For E-Fest ELECTRIC, Africa’s Green Economy Summit and its evrt property, we chose to partner with VUKA Group. Our partnership was done on a handshake, with VUKA taking the lead on staging and commercialising the E-Fest properties. The VUKA team delivered on 4 projects in 4 days – the partnership could not have worked better. All the correct boxes were ticked and with 12,100 race ticket holders through this first ever E-Fest ELECTRIC, a fantastic platform has been set for years to come.”
David Ashdown, CEO of VUKA Group, expands on the events that made up E-Fest:
Africa’s Green Economy Summit
This event was launched with the intention to connect the African and global investor community to African project owners through business executives, governments, cities, and policy makers, paving the way for an equitable and inclusive green economy and a sustainable future. This year’s theme was “Driving the Green Economy Investment Strategy.”
“Having secured an incredible list of speakers, we expected up to 250 delegates for this intimate event, but we opened with more than 350 in attendance for the opening keynote, sponsored by the Gautrain Management Agency, which included formal welcome addresses from Premiere Alan Winde of the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, who both spoke positively of the commitment to a more sustainable future for the region through a focus on driving an inclusive green economy” says Ashdown.
“It was a great success. Besides the various presentations and discussions, we had entrepreneurs pitching projects to investors at our pitch deck lounge, and our concierge match-making service set up in excess of 120 meetings, with one project securing US$2 million in seed funding on the day. That is the excitement of creating a deal-making environment. We’ve created a very robust platform to build from for the future.”
evrt 2024 was launched from the Silo District at the Waterfront at the beginning of race weekend. By invitation, guests were able to jump into 12 branded electric vehicles (EVs) and drive roads that included the world-famous Chapmans Peak Drive. En-route the drivers completed a recharge challenge that demonstrated the ability modern EV’s have to recharge their battery whilst under motion.
Banner explained that evrt plays a role in educating and raising awareness around clean energy and EVs, and addresses concerns around range.
The evrt Road Trip 2024 will see a range of electric vehicles driving from Pretoria to Cape Town over 10 days, arriving at the racetrack to showcase EV technology at next year’s race weekend.
On race day, the E-Fest ELECTRIC event opened within the E-Prix precinct, adjacent to the racetrack. Racegoers were able to test-drive electric vehicles, bikes and scooters, and to learn more about various rechargers, batteries and inverters. Over 750 EV test drives took place. At the E-Prix itself, VUKA Group project-managed the delivery of two Allianz-sponsored Fan Villages across the precinct for the 26,500 race ticket holders.
“It was an immensely rewarding week and I’m incredibly proud that VUKA Group was part of the Formula E project and its first-ever race on the African continent,” says Ashdown. “With our partners e-Movement, our sponsors, delegates, and speakers, and of course the 26,500 racegoers, we’ve got a winning formula and it feels amazing to be writing a part of history. E-Fest will continue to evolve and grow as we work towards our aligned purpose-driven objectives in this space. I am very grateful to Iain and the whole e-Movement team who demonstrated their trust in us, and we are excited by the respect and complementary nature of our relationship.”
Banner responds: “Going forward, I see the Cape Town E-Prix as our annual celebration of sustainability and nett zero. I am most grateful to David and his team for the part they played in helping realise our dream. “