Coderre defends $24M price tag of Montreal's Formula E race this summer

Montreal is hosting the electric street racing series Formula E in July which comes with a $24 million price tag.

Race circuit in Ville-Marie borough taking place July 29 and 30

Race cars compete during the Formula E Hong Kong ePrix auto race, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. (Kin Cheung/Associated Press)

The price tag for Montreal's electric Formula E racing series this July is being set at $24 million.

The race, which comes to Montreal on July 29 and 30, will feature electric cars that reach speeds up to 225 kilometres per hour. The circuit will follow city streets around the east end of Montreal's downtown.

Mayor Denis Coderre said Tuesday the city will spend $14 million on infrastructure — he argues that this will be on roadwork that needs to be done anyway.

In addition to that money, the city has approved a 10-million-dollar line of credit for the non-profit group organizing the race to cover costs beyond infrastructure.

"When we talk about Viger, Berri, and René-Lévesque, Papineau, I don't think we want a race with pot holes," Coderre said, referring to streets the circuit will follow.

The Formula E course will wrap around Maison de Radio-Canada and run along stretches of René-Lévesque Boulevard, Papineau Avenue, Viger Avenue and Berri Street. (Formula E)

Coderre brushed off questions about the cost, saying this is an investment in Montreal being seen as a green energy leader.

He stressed today's announcement was good news and he called the race "a mission." 

"We're changing the culture, we want cars but we want electric cars. We want taxis, but we want electric taxis," Coderre said.

First sponsor announced

He added that the race will be seen by about 15 million people internationally and will give Montreal exposure as a leader in the field of green energy.

Coderre also expects tourism for the event will economically benefit the city.

Hydro-Québec is the first sponsor to come on board with a contribution of $850,000. Coderre said more sponsors would be announced in the near future.

Mayor Denis Coderre rebuffed questions Tuesday about the cost of the event, saying showing the city as a green energy leader was most important thing. (CBC)

Formula E is a competition with 10 teams facing off in different cities around the world. Montreal's races in July will be the final two races of Formula E's 2016-17 season.