Changing aero kits, front motor development & 600 kW: FIA starts tender process for Formula E's Gen4 car
With different aerodynamic concepts, 600 kW of racing power and the new permission for manufacturers to develop their own front powertrains, Formula E is preparing to start its fourth generation of racing. Last week, the FIA began the tender process and announced the development specifications for interested suppliers. The roles for the chassis, tires, fast-charging and battery systems suppliers will be newly awarded.
On a total of 142 pages, the FIA has defined the requirements for the technical future of Formula E. The car, which bears the working title "Gen4", is hoped to be faster than its predecessor and will be used in the period between 2026 and 2030 - with an extension to 2032 possible. "The aim of this (tender) is a revolution of the chassis architecture," the FIA writes in its technical summary.
In particular, the international automotive governing body plans to improve the aerodynamic performance of the cars. This will be made possible, among other things, by different aero kits, which Formula E's teams could be able to adapt to different track conditions in the future. Something similar has been happening for years in the IndyCar championship, where there are different aero specifications for oval and circuit racing.
Movable aero parts and different bodywork kits planned
As 'e-Formula.news' reported a few weeks ago, a power boost of up to 600 kW is planned for the Gen4 car - henceforth as an all-wheel drive instead of just being powered on the rear axle. The car will theoretically be able to use this power in race, qualifying and attack mode.
On one hand, this wording could indicate that the championship is considering doing away with attack mode. The mode has so far always been marked by an increase in power output. However, it is also theoretically possible that in the future it will no longer be the power that changes in attack mode, but the aerodynamic properties while driving. This could be changed via movable components on the bodykit, somewhat similar to the effect of a permanent DRS activation in Formula One.
In comparison: Gen3 vs. Gen4 in Formula E
|Max. power (Qualifying)||600 kW (805 bhp)||350 kW (469 bhp)|
|Max. power (Race, energy saving)||600 kW (805 bhp)||300 kW (402 bhp)|
|Max. power (Race, no energy saving)||300 kW (402 bhp)||300 kW (402 bhp)|
|Max. power (Attack Mode)||600 kW (805 bhp)||350 kW (469 bhp)|
|Max. recuperation||700 kW (rear: 350 kW, front: 350 kW)||600 kW (rear: 350 kW, front: 250 kW)|
|Battery capacity||55 kWh||38,5 kWh|
|Drive type||four-wheel drive||rear-wheel drive|
|Weight (battery weight)||930 kg (340 kg)||854 kg (284 kg)|
|Size (W / L / H)||1.800 mm / 5.000 mm / 1.250 mm||1.707 mm / 5.016 mm / 1.023 mm|
The technical specifications also leave room for interpretation regarding the Gen4 race format. The wording on maximum race power with "no energy saving" could hint at concrete plans to introduce sprint races (as we reported). Thus, scenarios are possible in which there are sprint E-Prix with "high-downforce packages" and 600 kW, but also energy-saving races with "low-downforce packages" and 600 kW or 300 kW, respectively, on tracks where maximum power would be too dangerous. Confirmation of the final sporting format is still pending, however.
Charging power to increase to 700 kW - even during fast charging stops
The maximum charging power (and thus also the recuperation during races) is to increase to 700 kW, the vehicle weight (incl. the driver) to 930 kilograms. For the new battery pack, the FIA would like to see a capacity of 55 kWh and a maximum weight of 340 kilograms.
The company responsible for the 700 kW fast chargers will also be re-tendered from the 2026/27 season. The system is to be used during 30-second pit stops. Next year, WAE, the manufacturer of the current Gen3 battery, will still be responsible for the infrastructure. In the future, however, the fast-charging and battery systems could come from two different suppliers. The standard 100 kW charging infrastructure used by the teams between sessions is not the responsibility of the FIA, but of Formula E - currently with its partner ABB.
Front motor development opened - discussion on 20-inch tires
Further technical adjustments concern the development for front motors (in the future in responsibility of the Formula E manufacturers) and the introduction of power steering. Also under discussion is an increase in wheel size: chassis manufacturers have been invited to submit proposals for 18- and 20-inch rims. Whether slick tires will also find their way into Formula E with the Gen4 car is still uncertain at present, as the tire manufacturer's tender is yet to be published.
Interested suppliers have been able to view the technical details on the FIA's website since last week in order to draw up their concepts. All documents must be submitted by August 31, 2023, before the FIA makes its final decision on October 19, orders car production and invites manufacturers to mandatory crash tests in October 2024. The final race cars must then be ready for all manufacturers by September 1, 2026, before the first Gen4 season is expected to begin in November 2026.