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Formula E

Surprise new battery provider expected for Formula E's Gen4 era

by Sam Smith
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Little-known company Podium Advanced Technologies has emerged as the strong favourite to land the Gen4 Formula E battery contract slated to begin in 2026.

PAT is believed to soon be officially confirmed as having beaten current spec battery provider WAE (previously Williams Advanced Engineering) and the McLaren Applied company that supplied the RESS units in Gen2 between 2018 and 2022 to the contract.

The company designs and supplies the MotoE battery packs and is also known as the engineering and technology partner of the Glickenhaus hypercar effort, which ran in the World Endurance Championship from 2021 until the latter stages of the season just completed.

Based in Northern Italy, close to the Swiss border, PAT was formed in 2008 and supplies the spec 800V battery pack for MotoE. That unit has a capacity of 18kWh and is made up of 1152 cylindrical cells.

A similar design of cells is suspected to be the favoured technology for the Gen4 era of Formula E, which is set to feature a maximum in-race power deployment of 600kW, a significant step up from the current 350kW maximum in Gen3.

The maximum regen of the design for Gen4 will be 700kW, with 350kW via the front and rear powertrains. The target weight of the traction battery for the car project is set at 930kg (340kg for battery pack) including the driver. The in-race charging capability is also set at 700kW with a view to having an added usable energy of 5kWh each race on top of an initial 55kWh per battery.

The FIA has introduced more stringent criteria for cell validation testing after initial spec problems with the Gen3 battery in 2022. This caused a last-minute change to the specific cells used in the Gen3 units.

PAT was featured by the Financial Times newspaper among its ranking of Europe's 1000 fastest-growing companies in each of the last six years.

Speaking earlier this year, its CEO Francesco Monti said that the company "closed 2021 with over €30million in turnover" and the 2022 represented a "breakthrough year with the start of the €24 million investment plan in the electrification and battery systems development sector, called Tech Bat". 

“2023 will certainly be a year of great change and growth with the imminent move to new headquarters and the massive investment in research and development," added Monti.

The McLaren Applied company was vying for a return to Formula E for the Gen4 ruleset along with current supplier WAE.

McLaren Applied partnered with Spanish-based technology provider BOLD to supply the spec battery. The Race revealed last month that the confirmation of the successful tender applicants had been delayed by five weeks in order for extra evaluation to be conducted.

McLaren supplied and serviced Formula E in the Gen2 era between 2018 and 2022 when it partnered with the American Ateiva company to supply the RESS units. That collaboration was deemed a success, with few real issues attributed to the traction batteries throughout this era.

BOLD was set up by former McLaren Formula 1 engineer Bernat Carreras and Mercedes F1 designer Gerard Torres. The company has bases in both Barcelona and the UK and currently employs 140 personnel. 

Should Podium be confirmed as the Gen4 supplier, it must provide the first completed testing unit by January 2025, with 10 manufacturer RESS by July 2025 for testing before delivering up to 24 for the start of the 2026/27 season. Manufacturer car homologations are set for September 2026, with an anticipated promoter’s pre-season test in October.

WAE will continue to supply batteries to Formula E for the next three seasons as part of its Gen3 deal. The Race can reveal that WAE did tender for the Gen4 deal.

Spark Racing Technology is again expected to supply the car itself, which will be the first ever bespoke FE car that's a four-wheel-drive design incorporating two e-powertrains.

Spark has been ever-present in Formula E, supplying all three generations of car in the championship. It is not believed that it had significant opposition for the Gen4 tender. The Italian YCOM company initially showed interest, attending several races in 2023, but is understood not to have lodged a final tender bid.

The new Gen4 design will feature both high- and low-downforce aero configurations on cars that will have increased width and weight of 100mm and 76kg respectively. 

Official confirmation by the FIA on the tender agreements is expected shortly.

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