Technology in Formula E
In Formula E, all teams compete with a standard chassis. With the start of the 2022/23 season, the "Formula E Gen3" replaced the "FE18 Spark Racing Technology", better known as "Gen2", used in the previous four years. After the Formula E cars took to the track with identical drive trains in the first year, since the second championship year 2015/16, in-house development of the electric motor, inverter, gearbox, rear suspension and software has been permitted for registered manufacturers. Currently, six out of eleven teams compete with a specially designed drivetrain.
The Formula E battery is also a standardized component, supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering. The accumulator stores the energy, of which up to 40 kWh is available to the drivers in the race.
As the series' official tyre supplier, Hankook has been contributing treaded 18-inch all-weather tyres that are designed for sustainability and are also partly made from sustainable materials since 2023. As a rule, the tyres will survive an entire race day. All details can be found further down on this page.
|Category||Gen3 car (2022/23)||Gen2 car (2018)||Gen1 car (2014)|
|Maximum Speed||322 kph||280 kph||225 kph|
|Acceleration (0-100 kph)||2.8 s||2.8 s||3.1 s|
|Max. Performance (Qualifying Mode)||350 kW (476 bhp)||250 kW (340 bhp)||200 kW (272 bhp)|
|Performance Race Mode||300 kW (408 bhp)||220 kW (299 bhp)*||180 kW (245 bhp)|
|Performance Attack Mode||350 kW (476 bhp)||250 kW (340 bhp)*||-|
|Performance FANBOOST||-||250 kW (340 bhp)||180 to 200 kW (100 kJ)|
|Battery||Lithium-ion accumulator||Lithium-ion accumulator||Lithium-ion accumulator|
|Batterie Capacity (Usable Energy)||38.5 kWh||52 kWh||28 kWh|
|Max. Recuperation||600 kW (r: 350 / f: 250)||250 kW||150 kW|
|Drive||Rear-wheel drive||Rear-wheel drive||Rear-wheel drive|
|Revolutions per Minute||tba||n/a||19,000|
|Max. Longitudinal Acceleration||tba||1.75 G||1.75 G|
|Max. Braking Deceleration||tba||3 G||3 G|
* since season 8 (2021/22) - before 200 / 235 kW
|Categorie||Gen3 car (2022/23)||Gen2 car (2018)||Gen1 car (2014)|
|Length||5,016 mm||5,200 mm||5,000 mm|
|Width||1,700 mm||1,800 mm||1,800 mm|
|Height||1,023 mm||1,064 mm||1,250 mm|
|Gauge||tba||1,505 mm||1,300 mm|
|Front Track||tba||1,553 mm||n/a|
|Rear Track||tba||1,505 mm||n/a|
|Wheelbase||2,971 mm||3,100 mm||n/a|
|Ground Clearance||tba||75 mm (max.)||n/a|
|Total Weight (incl. driver)||850 kg||903 kg||880 kg|
|Weight of battery||284 kg||385 kg||230 kg|
|Weight of E-motor||tba||n/a||26 kg|
The lithium-ion battery from Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) weighs around 284 kilograms and is located in the rear of the car and can store up to 51 kWh of energy. However, a certain amount of energy is intended for the "zero laps" before and after the race (known as outlap & inlap) and as an emergency reserve, which is why the drivers actually only have 40 kWh available during the race. This corresponds to the capacity of around 500 laptops or 6,500 smartphone batteries.
In seasons 1 to 4 (2014 to 2018), Formula E already relied on a unit battery from Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) with 28 kWh of usable energy. This, however, this did not provide enough energy for a full race distance. Therefore, towards the middle of the race, drivers had to switch to a second car with a fully charged battery after just over 20 minutes. With the introduction of the second generation of cars at the start of the 2018/19 season, which had a battery from McLaren Advanced Technologies (MAT), these pit stops became obsolete. The drivers had 52 kWh of energy at their disposal. However, this battery was more than 100 kg heavier than its successor.
Since the battery operates in a comparatively small temperature window, it has to be cooled constantly. In racing trim, the airstream is sufficient for this. In the garage, however, the mechanics have to install air pumps and containers with dry ice in front of the side box. The radiator in the right-hand side box cools the battery, its counterpart on the left-hand side the electric motor.
The drivetrain - consisting of the motor, gearbox, and inverter - is the only area of the Formula E car in which manufacturers are allowed to develop freely, alongside the rear suspension and software.
While the battery can only output direct current, the mostly three-phase AC electric motors require a very precisely frequency-tuned alternating current input to convert the available energy into power and transmit it to the drive axle through the gearbox. The manufacturers are allowed to determine the number of gears themselves. The inverter is responsible for converting the energy and creating this voltage profile as the centerpiece between the battery and electric motor.
The driver can choose from various power settings via a rotary control on the steering wheel. For example, there are settings for the shakedown (max. 130 kW), qualifying (max. 350 kW), the race (max. 300 kW - formerly 220), or the attack mode (350 kW - formerly 235).
During recuperation, the energy recovery during "coasting" and braking, the drivetrain can operate in the opposite direction: Drive axle >>> motor >>> inverter >>> battery. Up to 600 kW can be recuperated (350 kW on the rear axle, 250 with the standardized front motor). The recovery process in the braking zones through "lift and coast" is one of the most complex tasks for drivers during a Formula E race, although they have been supported by the vehicle's software since 2018 with the "brake-by-wire" system. With good recuperation work during the race, a driver can extend the range of their battery by almost 20 percent.
With the exception of the powertrain (motor, gearbox, inverter, and rear suspension) and the control electronics, there is a general development ban in Formula E. For cost reasons, no work can be done on any other vehicle parts in the foreseeable future.
A few months before the start of a new season, the powertrains are homologated by the FIA. Once a manufacturer passes the mandatory crash tests, which must meet the standards of Formula 1, they may no longer make any changes to the hardware of the vehicles. Only software adaptations are still possible afterwards. The software is continuously developed throughout the season.
In order to save costs, all powertrains are homologated on a two-season cycle in Formula E. Manufacturers will thus have to use the same hardware in the 2023 and 2024 seasons.
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