600 kW power! Technical development plans for Formula E’s Gen4 car revealed
The technical framework for Formula E's future Gen4 car is nearing completion. As reported by 'The Race', there could be two different design briefs, as there were at the start of development of the Gen3 car. The objective with the new car is to increase the power levels to up to 600 kW (816 bhp), and the recuperation power to 700 kW.
When the Gen2 car was put out to tender a few years ago, Formula E had gone public with two different framework briefings: an ambitious option with high performance targets and a slightly more conservative one. Potential manufacturers such as Spark Racing Technology were asked to explore what was technically possible and submit proposals for development.
Apparently, there will also be two different briefs for the Gen4 car, which will be used from Season 13 (2026/27). One option envisages that the (then) enrolled Formula E manufacturers would use two identical powertrains in each car - one on the front and one on the rear axle. They would thus only have to go through one homologation phase.
In-house development for front motors an option
The other option would involve developing two different e-motors. Manufacturers would thus have to develop and homologate a specific front-wheel powertrain in addition to their rear-wheel powertrain. The opportunities for differentiation from other competitors would be greater, though so would the costs.
That some kind of all-wheel drive will be used is becoming increasingly likely. Particularly with a planned hike in power from the current 350 to 600 kW, the Gen4 car is likely to need all four wheels to even be able to convert performance into acceleration. Top Formula E officials Jamie Reigle and Alberto Longo had only recently provided insight into the sporting possibilities of a "sequential" all-wheel drive system.
Slick tires become more likely
The high level of performance means that tires will also have to evolve. The use of slicks, or at least grooved tires (as once used in Formula 1), is thus also becoming increasingly likely, as rubber with more grip would contribute significantly to fully exploiting the performance potential of the Gen4 car.
So each team would likely be provided with one set of tires for maximum performance and one for changeable conditions. Formula E co-founder Longo had already told us during the Berlin E-Prix that for him there would be nothing to stop the use of slicks, provided the sustainable electric series stayed at a maximum of two sets of tires per car and per race weekend.
Ciliberti: "That's why we're looking at different cell technologies"
Formula E has also planned another leap with regard to recuperation performance. Instead of the already impressive energy recovery with 600 kW of power during deceleration of the current Gen3 car, the performance during recuperation is to increase by 100 kW again - to 700 kW.
"These figures come from our 'Technical Roadmap' and reflect what we think is possible in terms of cell technology," Alessandra Ciliberti, the FIA’s chief Formula E technology officer, tells 'The Race'. "But of course they will have to be validated once the tender is out and we receive offers from potential manufacturers."
Most important to her and Formula E, she said, is that the highest possible performance is achieved with maximum reliability. "That's why we're looking at different cell technologies that will give us increased power and energy density while being durable. We want to ensure safety while continuing to push the boundaries of e-mobility," Ciliberti said.
Name of Gen4 car still unclear
Question marks are currently still hovering over the official name of the e-racing car. It is possible that Formula E could say goodbye to its previous nomenclature - Gen1, Gen2, Gen3 - in the fourth generation of cars. For the time being, however, there is still talk behind the scenes of "Gen4."
Official requests for proposals for interested manufacturers are expected to be issued this month. A decision on who will be allowed to develop the electric racing car of the future could be made as early as October of this year.