The highly anticipated Gen3 Formula E car broke cover in Monaco on Thursday, and has been described as “a seriously quick and agile racing car” by the only driver to sample the design so far.
Three-time Le Mans winner Benoit Treluyer has tested the distinctive-looking machine since last October and believes the power delivery and handling of the lighter car will deliver much more dynamic racing in the all-electric world championship.
The Gen 3 car will be the first ever formula car with both front and rear powertrains to race internationally and will include a new front powertrain adding 250kW of regeneration to the 350kW powering the car at the rear in the ‘conventional’ propulsion cluster that manufacturers are open to design.
The new package will double the regenerative possibility of the present Gen2 car to a total 600kW.
The weight of the car is 760kg minus the driver who is added, due to the minimum weight regulation of 80kg in Formula E.
The car will not feature rear hydraulic brakes due to the addition of the front MGU – which is being supplied by the Atieva technology company, part of the Lucid Motors group – and the overall regenerative capability.
The Race has discovered that the battery is using pouch formatted cells from the Total SAFT company and is designed and assembled by original tender winners Williams Advanced Engineering, while track support next season will go through the Spark Racing Technologies company that has been the FIA’s single supplier selected through the initial tendering process.
WAE completed some primary development of the base model during the tender phase, which involved significant testing and pre-tender submissions via the official FIA brief.
An electric motor delivering up to 350kW of power will be capable of a top speed of 200mph, with a power-to-weight ratio that is twice as efficient as an equivalent 470bhp internal combustion engine.
Lighter and smaller than the Gen2 car, the new model has been specifically designed to a shorter wheelbase (3100mm as opposed to 2970mm) and narrower track to ensure more agile racing and less tactical contact opportunities for drivers.
“The tactics we have seen in some races will be a thing of the past I think,” Treluyer told The Race.
“You just will not be able to afford these big situations with contact because of the front MGU and also just because the cars are open wheeled now.”
The Gen3 cars have been designed to have any consumable components recycled and therefore reused. This will include the new Hankook tyres, which are built from recycled material, and the spec batteries as Formula E continues its net-zero carbon initiatives.
“Together with the FIA, we are proud to reveal the Gen3 to Formula E fans and demonstrate to the wider sports industry how elite sport, high performance and sustainability can successfully co-exist in the Formula E world championship.” commented Formula E CEO, Jamie Reigle at the launch.
Teams are not yet privy to the final sporting format of the 2023-look Formula E season, which is set to include an element of fast charging.
Details on the structure of races are currently being discussed by the FIA and Formula E and are expected to be confirmed to teams shortly.
Nissan e.dams’ Vincent Gaillardot told The Race recently that the chargers will effectively be quadruple the power of regular automotive industry ones.
“We know the big number, so we know the quantity of energy which will go in the car, which means the time we will have to stop the car, as it’s linked to the power you have to have in your fast charger,” he said.
“Its quite big number compared to the [automotive] industry, like a Tesla charger, and is four times bigger, so it’s definitely quite advanced.
“This is defined now, but on the sporting side what will be the restriction or possibility to when we will recharge and so on is not completely defined yet, there are some discussions and simulations work is ongoing.”
Formula E title partner ABB will provide the charging for Gen3 cars via portable units that can charge two cars simultaneously.
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who did not attend the launch, said “both technologically and environmentally, Gen3 sets new standards in the sport”.
He added: “The FIA and Formula E development teams have done a superb job, and I thank them for their hard work on this project.
“I am delighted to see so many leading manufacturers already signed up to the championship’s next era and await Gen3’s competitive debut in Season 9 with great anticipation.”
The Gen3 car has completed 3500 miles of running, including several simulations of a complete Formula E race day.
Manufacturers will start receiving cars next month before embarking on testing programmes. A combined manufacturer test, which was originally earmarked for mid-June, is set to be rescheduled for a date soon to be decided.