E-motion: Concentration meets acceleration
2/15/18 / Technology / Formula E
For spectators, the sound of the Formula E race track is a completely new experience: it’s noticeably quiet as the cars whizz by. Yet anyone who has ever been to such a race knows that the human senses are still stimulated – electrified – in every respect. The high-tech race cars are on a par with their counterparts powered by IC engines – and still deliver thrilling motorsport. After all, it is not just about driving skills and running engines at full throttle, but also about the intelligent use of battery power. And as both the driver and the pit team become energy managers, yet more suspense is transferred to the crowd.
“Motorsport is emotion – and emotion is what we need in electric mobility as well” - Prof. Peter Gutzmer, Deputy CEO and Chief Technology Officer of Schaeffler AG
In terms of technological development, Formula E follows a technical roadmap. It includes specifications for teams and manufacturers designed to prevent a technological arms race. In the 2014/2015 inaugural season, identical electric race cars were used. Since season two, the teams have been able to develop the powertrain themselves. A large amount of Schaeffler know-how went into the development of the ABT Schaeffler FE01 and the FE02 (the race cars fielded in the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 seasons). The company was deemed a pioneer in electric mobility as well as being the team’s official technology partner. The new Audi e-tron FE04 also uses technology “made by Schaeffler”. Schaeffler engineers together with Audi once again developed the combination of the motor and transmission including the control electronics.
The spectacle intensifies
In the coming years, the technical roadmap provides for adjustments to make Formula E even more attractive. For the 2018/2019 season, for instance, the amount of energy available from the lithium-ion battery will increase from the current 28-kilowatt hours to 54. This means vehicles will be able to cover a full race distance, thus eliminating the currently customary car change. The maximum power output will be raised from 200 to 250 kilowatts.
Leonardo DiCaprio hangs out with the current Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi from the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team. The Hollywood star’s visit to the Formula E race in Marrakesh in mid-January demonstrates the significance the sport and technology now have for the public.