Formula E car is the battery. Drain that,
and you’re literally going nowhere.
Williams Advanced Engineering has
designed and supplied the batteries and
the management system. They will allow
a 200k W power output in a car that
weighs 800kg (1,760lb), so performance
should be close to that of a Formula 3 car.
“It’s a natural progression for us as an
F1 team that’s developed its own KERS
system entirely, and also supplies
Marussia, to take that to the next level –
which is obviously electric-only vehicles,”
says WAE head of commercial operations
Kirsty Andrew. “It’s not the limit of the
technology, but it’s a line in the sand.”
WAE electronics expert Okan Tur says
the battery is “similar technology [to KERS
in F1] but not exactly the same. There is
much more stored energy compared with
F1, which means a lot more power.”
The battery pack will weigh 200kg
(440lb), which is heavier than a full F1 fuel
tank. It sits behind the driver, effectively
where the fuel tank and engine would be in
a normal racecar. WAE chief technical
officer Paul Newsome says: “The battery
pack is a structural element in much the
same way the engine block is in an F1 car.”
A battery management system maintains
performance in each car and ensures parity
across the grid, but managing the rate of
usage will be a new challenge for the drivers.
“The battery/electric motor solution is
very different to a high-performance
combustion engine,” says Newsome. “We
deliver peak torque at zero speed, and it can
sustain that torque throughout the motor’s
rev range. The drivability characteristics
are totally different... Theoretically, it’ll be
easier, but the capability of the driver will
be brought out in a different way.”
HARMONIZING THE PACKAGE
This is where Renault comes in, given its
long history of electric-vehicle production,
to ensure the constituent parts combine to
deliver the performance levels the series
is looking for. It is responsible for systems
integration, performance optimization
and powertrain electrical safety.
as well as hosting two races in the
inaugural Formula e season (los
angeles and Miami), the U.S. is also
supplying two high-profile teams from
the world of indycar Series racing.
in July, andretti autosport (aBOVe)
became the third sign-up for the
10-team series, with Dragon racing
(BelOW) taking on the fourth
franchise slot in September.
“Formula e symbolizes a vision for the
future of motorsports and the automotive
industry, while directly appealing to a
new generation of global race fans,”
said Dragon racing owner Jay Penske.
the timing of the inaugural series
means that drivers from andretti and
Dragon’s indycar rosters could take
part in select rounds, which is something
that Formula e ceO alejandro agag is
keen to see happen.
“One reason for the schedule starting in
September and running through to June
of the following year is not to collide with
Formula 1, the Wec, or other series,” he
says. “i think some indycar drivers will do
both series, or at least try to do a few
races, so the timing makes a lot of sense.”
With the los angeles race set for
Feb. 14, 2015, and the indycar season
usually beginning in March, it’s likely that
both teams will field at least one of their
indycar drivers for that event. But Miami
is april 18, which could mean a clash with
the long Beach grand Prix weekend.
One other U.S. strand already in place
is tV coverage, with all the races set to
be shown live on FOX Sports 1.
“america is a key market for electric
cars,” says agag, “so we are particularly
happy to provide live broadcasts there.”
aMerica PlUgS in
INDYCAR TEAMS SIGN UP
FIA president Jean
Todt was among
those at the launch
of the Rome race.
That event won’t now
be on the 2014-’ 15
Formula E CEO
Alejandro Agag gets
a tour of Andretti
Autosport, the first
of two U.S. teams
to sign up.
Formula E’s inaugural 10-round calendar begins Sept. 20, 2014, on the streets of Beijing,
China, and ends nine months later in London, UK. The season is divided into blocks of
geographically linked races – Asia, South America, the USA and Europe – to ease logistics.
The timing of the calendar is to ensure as few date clashes with Formula 1 as possible.
PUNTA DEL ESTE,
Not on the official calendar released by the
FIA are Rome (LEFT), Rio de Janeiro and
Bangkok, despite being on a preliminary list
announced last spring. Series organizers say
all three will be considered as candidates as
and when the calendar expands in future
seasons. Their replacements on the 10-race
2014-’ 15 schedule are Monte Carlo,
Hong Kong and Punta del Este in Uruguay.
wAITING IN THE wINGS...