Olympic Park in Beijing China hosted the first of a series of races of this spec race. It is the FIA’s attempt to create a Formula One type of racing experience but using all electric powered race cars.
Like the Indy series they all use the same chassis. They do use 18” wheels. The cars are all pretty much the same. Within the constraints of electric power a single team car cannot complete a race so there is a mandatory car swap.
The cars consume so much electricity recharging that their impact on the city’s electrical grid is significant.
The fact that this is a series designed to replace the current Formula 1 is a bit disquieting. The changes that have taken place in F1 have started moving the cars toward a spec-style formula which is putting off the fan base in a big way.
The Beijing race resulted in a crash and several yawns from the crowd of spectators. I doubt that they will have much enthusiasm for attending another F-E race any time soon.
But there is another formula out there that should get a great deal of focus.
Its known as Formula Student and in the video above is the TU Delft car that wowed them at the Silverstone event with their performance and design innovation.
Notice the hub-less wheel design. There are electric motors on all four corners. It has a one-stage planetary transmission resulting in a 50% weight saving over their last year’s design. The wheels are 2kg lighter per corner.
The chassis was designed as a carbon fiber sandwich with an aluminum honeycomb center section. It weighs as much as a case of beer and is 3kg lighter than the previous chassis.
The whole electronic system was redesigned and uses their own battery management system. Components were kept as close to each other as possible to reduce wiring and its associated interference. That reduced the number of wires per battery package from 40 to two. Electrical energy is stored in an accumulator made of lithium polymer cells that are extremely lightweight. If they had used batteries that are found in a normal car the weight would be 200kg instead of the 40kg it actually weighs. It is extremely efficient with a 6.4kWh output. With the regenerative braking they get 30% of their total power.
Instead of constraining Formula E with so many limits why don’t they open up the formula to creativity that you find these universities thriving in. Their technology is not shrouded in secrecy either. They just know that every year is a starting point for the next year’s worth of innovation.
And isn’t that what race fans are really looking for?