The fifth season of the FIA Formula E Championship electric racing series got under way last week in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Antonio Felix da Costa, driving for BMW i Andretti Motorsport, took the checkered flag – his second Formula E win.
This season will consist of 13 races in 12 cities on 5 continents, wrapping up in July with a double-header in New York City. The 11 teams are sponsored by race teams and automakers from around the world, including not only well-known brands (Nissan, Audi, BMW, Jaguar) but also up-and-coming global players (Mahindra, DS, Nio).
Some historic technical advances have been introduced for this season. The completely redesigned “Batmobile-esque” Gen2 car has double the energy storage capacity of the Gen1 car. For the first time, there will be no mid-race car swaps.
The Gen2 racer has 250 kW (335 bhp) of power, an increase of 50 kW (67 bhp) over the previous generation. It can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 280 km/h (174 mph).
The new battery pack sits inside the monocoque chassis, has a greater number of cylindrical cells and operates at a higher voltage than the previous pack. Another new feature of the Gen2 car is a brake-by-wire system, which reduces the risk of locking up the brakes – the car’s Electronic Control Unit balances how much braking the driver wants with the amount of braking delivered by the regen system, delivering a consistent braking effect.
While much of the car’s design is regulated, the teams and manufacturers have the freedom to custom-design certain components – they can develop their own inverters, fit brake ducts to the front brakes to tailor brake cooling to track conditions, and set up the rear suspension to suit the powertrain. Ride height can be adjusted for different race locations.
Source: Formula E