BMW’s Formula E racer from the inside
Because Michelin tires are all-weather, only one kind of tire is carried to each race; no wet weather tires or alternate compounds are shipped across the world, limiting tire performance – but this isn’t a concern because of the street-race one-make structure. The series has its power source, with generators delivering clean, renewable Glycerine fuel to charge the cars’ batteries.
The street circuit format reflects positively on the performance of vehicles with a power-to-weight ratio closer to that of F3 cars. When they are at F1 performance levels, a common complaint is leveled at the series. Given its city-center format, Formula E’s ‘formula’ of rules, like other race series, is meant to reflect the status of the series and the courses it competes on. As a result, Formula E will never aim for the power and weight that F1 does.
So far, the tale has
Formula E, which began in Beijing in 2014, is presently in its sixth season. The category has gone through many changes in the last six years. Spark Racing Technology created the chassis with Dallara as its technical partner. The battery designed by Williams Advanced Engineering, the Hewland gearbox, and the McLaren Applied Technology Motor/inverter/ECU were standard designs in season one.
Only the car’s setup could be changed, and all teams could develop the software that controlled the powertrain. Season 2’s powertrain was left open, allowing OEMs to create their own motor/inverter/gearbox combination. The series quickly evolved into a diversified technical formula, with several variants on the powertrain structure; not all were successful, and only a handful of layouts survived into the formula’s later seasons.
During the first four seasons, a car’s battery capacity and powerplant output only allowed it to complete half of the race distance. As a result, midway through the race, the driver switched to another similar but fully charged vehicle. While this was neither appealing nor a good model for electric vehicle racing, it was a requirement that would become a handicap to overcome as the series continued.
Season roadmap for Formula E
The standard chassis and battery are subject to a four-season tender procedure to minimize costs; we are already halfway through the second generation of cars. Although the chassis and battery parameters are updated every two years, the development of the Gen 1 chassis delivered the bi-plane nose wing and internal changes to the Williams battery. Then, at the end of each season, a few minor rule modifications are made to better the sport or to close the previous season’s loopholes.
For Season 5, McLaren Applied Technology provided the new Gen2 vehicle, a completely new design with aggressive-looking bodywork over a new chassis that encased a fresh battery design. The new battery had double the energy storage for the same size and weight; thus, the cumbersome mid-race vehicle swaps were dropped, and the driver now races lights to flag with only one car.
For Season 8, a new vehicle, the Gen2EVO, has been released with redesigned bodywork. Then there’s the third-generation automobile, which has greater power and energy-recovery technologies and will be yet another series milestone.