The FIA Formula E Championship is currently a one-make series. Twenty top level drivers are using the same equipment during the ten rounds of the inaugural season. But that will change. The all-electric racing series has been designed to build a platform for manufacturers to showcase and develop new electric vehicle technologies. Starting from season two, the cars’ powertrain will be improved.
The current all-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E machinery has been built by a consortium of renowned companies. For example Williams developed the battery, McLaren supplied the electric motor and Renault has supervised the systems integration.
The Formula E organisation has made short list of manufacturers which will be revealed ‘soon’. What can we expect?
We have no need of a crystal ball to predict who’ll be on that list. Most manufacturers are already represented in Formula E. Renault was involved in the development of the cars which are being used this season, teamed up with e.Dams as a partner and can be spotted at the trade shows from Miami onwards. They won’t step aside while other manufacturers will be developing powertrains for season two.
Audi be confirmed. A source told electricautosport.com
Mahindra is another example. They’ve entered the racing series because they want to develop their own powertrain. The Indian car manufacturer has designed and built several electric vehicles and aims to increase its market share in the rest of the world. They are already working on powertrain components.
Venturi made a name for itself not just because Leonardo DiCaprio is co-founder of the Formula E team, but mostly because the Monegasque based manufacturer builds electric sports cars and – among other challenges – are the current land speed record holder in the EV category. They are keen to use their know-how to improve the Formula E car.
What about Audi? They’ve partnered up with the German Abt team and supplied factory driver Lucas di Grassi. A source confirmed to ElectricAutosport.com that Audi is on Formula E’s list with manufacturers that will be confirmed soon, just like BMW which is the series’ official vehicle supplier.
Most teams to become constructors
What about the other teams?
Formula E initially announced in November that it will publish a list of three to four manufacturers. Most other teams are to become constructors too. In October 2014 Omni Gear announced to begin initial development on an electric gearbox and, in due course, a powertrain for China Racing. And don’t be surprised if a Chinese EV brand will be shown on the car. The announcement is expected soon.
So, will there be just a few manufacturers joining? Probably we’ll be seeing many different cars’ specifications in season two as it receives much interest.
What will be developed?
ElectricAutosport.com revealed Formula E’s provisional technical roadmap in November. Battery power and its maximum power release will be the same in the second season as its costly to develop a new battery. A different braking system is expected from next season while change in transmission takes a few years. The Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars are currently rear wheel drive, but this may change to an all wheel drive system. This results in the ability to regenerate more power whilst braking. Aerodynamics will remain the same over the next years and although ‘mobile aero’ from season five sounds a bit mysterious, it could indicate that a system like DRS from Formula 1 will be allowed.
Expect key players from the industry taking part in Formula E from season two (names will be confirmed soon), while other suppliers will get a chance to develop their components too. The cars will look the same, but under the hood changes will be made and therefore it might result in a difference in lap times. With multiple car manufactures taking part and races being held on various continents, the racing series is expected to be granted a ‘World Championship’ status by the FIA.
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