Formula E racing is on the verge of a breakout season. The sport is getting some much-deserved attention from the racing elite. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Audi have all decided to race their high-performance electric cars against some fierce competition, including each other. EV startup Faraday Future is also joining the festivities. The 2018/19 circuit will be the first year drivers won’t need to swap out cars mid-race. That’s a game-changer. It also means that battery storage will have a major impact on driving performance.
Spark Racing Technologies
Spark Racing Technologies has the responsibility of manufacturing Formula E standard car bodies for the 5th season and it’s no small task. Accustomed to teams on circuits sharing cars, now the car must be lighter and store a heavy battery with a capacity to last the entire race. The SRT05e, according to a recent Engadget article, has two times the range of its predecessor the Spark-Renault SRT01. As you can tell from the Formula E photo, the frame of this car looks absolutely amazing. Futuristic. Aerodynamic. Lightweight.
“This is a great endorsement of how Formula E is leading the way for motorsport that is truly relevant for the automotive industry and how it’s inspiring the next generation of electric vehicles.”
– Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag
Auto Industry Elite Join Formula E
To illustrate the anticipation of the 2018/19 Formula E season: Both Jaguar and Audi, according to CNET’s Road Show, are bowing out of the World Endurance Championship in favor of racing their cars in the Formula E circuit. Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said in an interview with Autosport, “I continue to be delighted by the level of interest that Formula E has been receiving from global car manufacturers since the start of its first season.” On the heels of his decision to drop its mid-race car swap, big time electric car innovators want to lock in their starting position and see if their tech matches up with competitors.
Sam Bird, last year’s Formula E champion and driver for DS Virgin Racing, is ready to defend his title and it all begins February 18th in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Racing a Spark-Citroen Virgin DSV-02 car, this marks the first year the team is driving with a single-motor generator unit. Armed with 28kWh of energy, successful drivers like Sam Bird not only drive fast but they know how to conserve battery power throughout the race. That’s what got his team the championship last year.
Battery Technology and Formula E
Formula E drivers have the dual responsibility of driving fast on straightaway’s and also knowing when to let up on the accelerator to store energy. “We work hard with electronics and data guys to work out where to lift the most, where to lift small amounts, and where to regen(erate), down to the centimeter for each track,” Bird told ars Technica UK in a recent interview. With parity in the field especially when it comes to technology, driving skill is of utmost importance on the racetrack. But that is the beauty of Formula E racing – it’s not just about speed – it’s about racing smart.
It will be fascinating to see how the race for improved battery capacity directly affects the sport.