On Monday, November 29th, Formula E and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) revealed a first look at the new, third-generation, all-electric racing car that will perform in Season 9 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. It is being touted as a technological masterpiece and a benchmark for sustainable high performance racing cars. FIA President Jean Todt says, “[It is] a machine created at the intersection of high performance, efficiency, and sustainability.”
Presented under top-security conditions to an exclusive group of Formula E manufacturers, teams, drivers, and partners in Valencia, Spain, the Gen3 showcased some exciting design, performance, and sustainability innovations.
First, the Gen3 car is considered to be the world’s most efficient racing vehicle. At least 40% of the usable energy in a race will come from regenerative braking. Part of this is due to the fact that the Gen3 will be the first formula car with front and rear powertrains. A 250kW front powertrain is being added to the 350kW powertrain at the rear. An additional electric motor means the regenerative braking can be dialed to 11, which is also why the Gen3 formula car will not feature rear hydraulic brakes.
That 350kW motor producing 470bhp can propel the vehicle to a 200mph top speed, with a power to weight ratio that, according to Formula E, is “twice as efficient as an equivalent 470bhp internal combustion engine.” If you read my article on the inherent advantages of electric vehicles, advantage number three discusses the efficiency of electric motors in general, so this claim by Formula E is quite believable in my opinion. Formula E claims that the electric motors convert 90% of their energy into motion compared to the 40% achieved by high-efficiency ICEs.
Jamie Reigle, the Formula E CEO, stated, “The Gen3 is our fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient racing car yet. It is a creature designed for its habitat: racing on city streets in wheel-to-wheel combat.” The new generation is lighter than the Gen2 which enables it to be faster and more agile in this habitat.
Formula E is also touting the sustainability of this new racing car and claims it will be net-zero carbon, maintaining the Championship’s status as first sport to be certified as net-zero carbon since inception. The Gen3 will use tires partially composed of sustainable materials, 26% to be exact, and all broken carbon fiber pieces will be recycled for use in other applications.
The new Gen3 racing car is a miracle in modern engineering, and it will be exciting to see its performance come season 9 of the World Championship. It seems that Formula E’s goal of “demonstrating that high performance, efficiency and sustainability can co-exist without compromise” has been achieved, and proponents of electric vehicles can chalk this up as another win.