How It Works: The Electric Racecar

Electric Formula

This is the first year of new fully electric formula series. Its name is Formula E and it is run by FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) which also runs F1. In fact, Formula E was devised as a complimentary series to the top-notch Formula 1.

The new electric series will be open to any vehicle that fits the rules set by FIA, in an effort to encourage automakers to develop their electric technology further. For this season though, all of the ten teams will use one standard model called Spark-Renault SRT_01E provided by a company called Spark, designed with Renault. The car will include Dallara chassis, Williams batteries, and McLaren powertrain and electronics. In September, the first will take place in Beijing, where the teams will show of the new tech, including these interesting aspects:

A) Sound

SRT_01E generates only 80 decibels, which is only slightly more than road cars and much less than 130 decibels of F1 cars. In fact, FIA requires cars to produce artificial sound in the pits to make sure crew safety.

B) Powertrain

McLaren will supply two electric motors, the same ones it uses in its P1 supercar actually. Unlike most race engines, they should last about 2 years before needing replacement. The power will get to the wheels through a 6-speed sequential gearbox. 

C) Push-To-Pass

For most of the race, the electric engine will run in 18 horsepower mode to save battery energy, but drivers can use their push-to-pass buttons to get 270 horsepower for a few seconds, to make overtaking easier.

D) Tires

Michelin will provide special tires with extended efficiency in all weather conditions.

E) Pit Stops

Each team has 4 cars and the drivers will actually swap their cars during the pitstops, as the batteries last only for 30 minutes at 150 mph speeds the cars will produce.


Check out footage of the new Formula E car. Do you like the sound? 🙂

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Andrew J. Blanche

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