8th September: Ahead of World EV Day this Saturday, 9 September, Formula E is highlighting five examples of technological developments introduced in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship that have transitioned into consumer EVs and the EV infrastructure, known as ‘race to road’ transfer.
Formula E is the first all-electric motorsport World Championship, and is the only sport certified as net zero since inception. Now entering its tenth season, there have been 116 races to date in 30 cities and 23 countries on five continents. Earlier this year, Formula E introduced the GEN3 race car – the fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built.
Formula E works closely with motorsport governing body, the FIA, to create an environment where manufacturers and partners can develop and test innovative technological solutions across a range of EV applications.
Automotive manufacturers developing power systems in the championship include Jaguar, Porsche, Nissan, Mahindra and DS Automobiles.
Global partners ABB and Hankook Tire are pioneering technical developments in EV charging and EV road tyres respectively.
Ultimately, innovations introduced in Formula E are transitioning into EV cars on the streets today and the wider infrastructure, impacting the future of mobility and the decarbonisation of smart city centres around the world.
Five technologies developed in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship that have made the ‘race to road’ transfer:
1. FAST CHARGING
Charging times are one of the biggest concerns for consumer adoption of EVs. Formula E alongside the FIA and ABB have developed an ultrafast, compact and reliable charging solution for the current GEN3 race car – the fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built.
Capable of receiving a charge of 600kW the GEN3’s battery and charging capability provides vital insights to ABB who are one of the world leaders in EV battery development and production.
The fast chargers deliver a maximum power of 160kW and are able to charge two vehicles with 80kW of power simultaneously before a race. This allows race teams to benefit from a double charging capacity from one unit, significantly reducing the charger footprint and decreasing transportation emissions, as there is no longer a need for one unit per car.
2. REGENERATIVE BRAKING CAPABILITIES
Formula E’s braking systems have directly impacted the range and efficiency of its current race cars, as well as the technology deployed into road cars.
With a new front powertrain adding 250kW to the 350kW at the rear, more than doubling the regenerative capability of the GEN2 to a total of 600kW, the GEN3 produces more than 40% of its energy from within the race making it nearly 90% efficient.
Technology within this area has been developed and integrated into the Jaguar I-PACE, including temperature and torque management. One particular race to road transfer for the Jaguar I-TYPE 5 includes Predictive Energy Optimisation (PEO) – derived from the team – increasing energy efficiency in real-world driving by up to 10% through a simple software upgrade.
Nissan too were able to optimise the efficiency of its extremely popular Nissan Leaf EV, increasing the battery efficiency by 181% from learning taken from the track.
3. HANKOOK’S SUSTAINABLE TYRE TECH
Hankook Tire – the championship’s Official Tyre Supplier – worked closely with Formula E to develop a sustainable, all-weather tyre for the latest GEN3 car, with learnings directly transferred into their consumer EV tyres.
With technical performance needs around handling, grip and torque management, EV tyres are designed specifically to react and perform to specific needs. Once the all-weather Hankook iON Race tyre was developed, the Hankook iON collection evolved using on-track learning, with all-season, summer and winter variants available for consumer EVs.
Through developing the Hankook iON race tyre, the global tyre manufacturer pioneered tyre sustainability and circularity, with the GEN3 race tyres made from 26% recycled or sustainable materials that can be fully recycled after use.
4. REPURPOSED TRANSMISSION FLUIDS
As Official EV Fluids Partner to Jaguar TCS Racing since 2019, Castrol works with the team to co-engineer advanced EV Fluids and lubricants to realise the performance and more sustainable solutions that support the future of electric vehicle efficiency.
In a Formula E first, Jaguar TCS Racing and Castrol were the first in their field to refine and reuse waste transmission fluids in their race cars. The prestigious 2023 Monaco E-Prix saw the more circular Castrol ON EV Transmission Fluid deployed in a high-performance environment, following successful testing earlier in the season in Berlin, demonstrating a more circular transmission base oil can perform in parity to virgin base oil.
Last month at the conclusion of Season 9, Formula E awarded Jaguar TCS Racing the 2023 ABB FIA Formula E Climate Champion Award for the project.
5. GIVING NEW LIFE TO OLD EV BATTERIES
Suppliers of the Formula E championship are asked to identify all measures to improve sustainability credentials throughout the life cycle of their products and to comply with top level international standards mandated by the FIA Three Star Accreditation. As part of Formula E’s sustainability pillar the championship developed an innovative solution to reuse old EV batteries to supply power to the paddock at many races in Season 9, using repurposed old EV batteries in a storage system with 100% renewable energy to power the entire grid for car charging.
This is a pivotal development which can have real-world value when it comes to road EVs, because although EV batteries are more sustainable the longer they are used, it is still an energy-intensive process to dispose of them.