Why Formula E Is Important for the Future of Electric Vehicles

   Feb 16,2023

Throughout automotive history, there has been a close link between motorsports and road automobiles. Technology created for racing nearly always makes its way into conventional automobiles, and the same is true for electric cars and the Formula E Racing series.


What exactly is Formula E?

It is the world's foremost all-electric single-seater motorsport championship, founded in 2011, with the first race (known as an E-Prix) held in 2014. Most races are held on street circuits, and the sport is presently in its ninth season. The race cars themselves have grown tremendously, with the third generation now being faster than ever.

As the sport expands, it has added India to its racing calendar, and the country's inaugural E-Prix was recently held in Hyderabad. It was India's first international motorsport championship event in nearly a decade.

What brands are represented in Formula E?

Many notable automakers interested in developing their own line of electric vehicles have expressed interest in the electric racing series. Even though many racing components, like the battery pack and much of the chassis, are standardised and supplied by the same manufacturers, the electric powertrain and battery management systems are free to develop by the teams.

Two of the several car firms participating in Formula E are directly related to India: Mahindra and Jaguar (counted as part of the Tata Group). Renault, Nissan, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche are among the other major sports manufacturers, both past and current.

In addition, the grid includes independent racing teams that occasionally borrow components from one of the factory teams. Envision Racing, for example, is a customer team for Jaguar TCS Racing in the current Formula E competition. This allows the manufacturer to collect even more data to fully realise its EV technology's promise.

Improvements made in Formula E

Since the inception of electric motorsport, race cars have evolved dramatically. The organisers faced the difficulty of constructing a battery electric powertrain capable of operating at race pace for 45 minutes without being too huge and heavy when it first began. After researching battery-swapping technologies, they decided to swap cars midway. After a few years, the Gen2 Formula E car was unveiled, with nearly double the energy capacity (54kWh) and improved energy recovery, all in a comparable-sized package and with higher performance.

The powertrain has advanced even more in the latest Gen3 vehicles. Cars are becoming smaller, lighter, and faster. They now feature a front-mounted electric motor that can recover more than 40% of the energy at charge rates of up to 600kW. This has allowed the batteries to be slightly smaller while providing adequate racing range and performance.

Similar advancements have been seen with battery-powered electric vehicles for the road. Manufacturers can offer more range from the same battery capacity by utilising innovative technologies to optimise power delivery and boost regenerative capabilities. Alternatively, carmakers can occasionally pack more energy into the same-sized battery. Even the capacity to reduce the weight of batteries and powertrains through developing novel structural designs and using new materials has contributed to the advancement of EVs.

A glimpse into the future of EVs

Formula E is the epicentre for EV development, just as we saw hybrid technology employed for performance advantages in F1 with smaller engines and are now seeing supercars for the road with similar technologies. So, if you want to see what an electric car can expect shortly, look at the cars used in this thrilling motorsport series and consider adding Formula E to your watch list.

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