Starting from this season, Formula E teams have been able to modify the powertrain from the battery backwards, including the motor, gearbox, inverter and rear suspension. Find an overview of all the differences of the teams’ powertrains.
Renault e.dams showed a strong performance in Beijing, with driver Sébastien Buemi almost unbeatable. What’s their secret?Find out the key differences, supplied by the FIA Formula E Championship.
One of the most interesting differences is the amount of gears. Some teams use the original five sequential gears and single motor, while others have less gears or even twin motors.
|DS Virgin Racing||1||Twin|
|Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport||3||Single|
|DRAGON Racing & Venturi||4||Single|
There are different considerations for each, but a pay off between efficiency and weight seems to be key.
Tech experts from FIA Formula E Championship explaining on their website:
The original Spark-Renault SRT_01E from season one has five sequential gears, with a Hewland gearbox and McLaren motor modified from the P1 sportscar. The gears allow the motor to be as efficient as possible by working in power bands to match the revs and reach the zenith of the cars potential on bends, chicanes and straights – effectively maxing out at every point on a twisting street circuit. But every time a driver shifts up or down a gear, there is a drop in power for a few milliseconds; the car almost cuts out momentarily. This is inefficient, as the regeneration of the battery also stops. And this is a championship based around the battle of speed versus energy, where conserving energy matters.
So, the fewer the gears, the more efficient the car? Up to a point. In our road cars, the majority of EVs do not have gears. With 100 per cent torque, a single gear does the job. But in a racing environment, especially off the start line, things are a little different. It’s possible the cars can’t get the optimum torque at the start without a gear. So how do you maximise efficiency throughout the race, whilst maintaining maximum acceleration off the start? Let’s find out what the results from Beijing showed.
Here are some key differences, explained by Formula E:
Renault e.dams appeared to be very strong, almost unbeatable in Beijing.
– The gear set-up they have chosen is based on two gears, a starter gear and then a single race gear. So they have minimised any inefficiencies from shifting up and down through the gears and maximise the power off the start.
– It’s light, it’s one of two cars on the grid that hits the minimum weight requirement of 888kg, alongside ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. Other teams like Venturi and Dragon are slightly over the mark, whilst DS Virgin is one of the heaviest and NEXTEV needs to go on the Atkins diet. So how have Renault e.dams achieved this slender toned body? They have developed a carbon fibre gearbox casing.
– Money and man power help too. Renault heavily invested in the car and technology, rumoured to be over an eight figure value (USD). And also Vincent Gaillardot is the man behind the car – he has 10 years’ experience running electrical and electronics projects at Renault, including Formula 1 and the partnership with Formula E on the season one car.
NEXTEV TCR / DS Virgin Racing
NEXTEV TCR (as well as DS Virgin Racing) chose the single gear, twin motor solution. The single gear reduces the inefficiencies of gear changes, but the twin motors are bigger and heavier, especially in the case of NEXTEV TCR. The additional weight (30kg plus, possibly as much as 50kg but this is unconfirmed) will take effect on chassis balance. The Formula E car already has a balance of 61 per cent to the rear, so with this added weight it’s going to really effect the competitiveness and efficiency of the car.