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Posted on November 21, 2013

We have been following the progress of the Formula E series since it was first announced in April 2011 and the temperature has been rising lately on the FIA’s new world series, which is due to start in September 2014. Last week saw the publication of a report by Ernst & Young into the impact the series is set to have on global car market trends, then the Abt Audi team was confirmed as an entrant and today they announced that the prototype car has tested for the first time.

Formula E is a new series of zero emissions racing, with cars running entirely on electricity from batteries.

The car tested at the La Ferté Gaucher circuit near Choisy-le-Roi, France with ex Virgin Racing F1 driver Lucas di Grassi at the wheel. The car completed 40 laps over two days as engineers carried out system checks. For the test, the car was fitted with a 50kw battery which is a quarter of the maximum 200kw power (270bhp) the final car will produce.

McLaren is involved in making the motors for the series and Williams is working on the battery technology.


Frédéric Vasseur of Spark Racing which makes the car, said: “Everything went very well and it was a very positive maiden run for the Spark-Renault SRT_01E. The car ran for around 40 laps with no issues straight out of the box, which looks good for the overall reliability. We were also running with a much smaller battery than we will use – just 25% of the full power – which again gives us confidence going forward. The next test is planned for the coming weeks where we want to increase the mileage on the car, working our way up to a full race simulation.”

Meanwhile the CEO and leading light behind the Formula E series, Alejandro Agag said, “The first test was a historic moment for the championship and we’re delighted with how it has gone. We think teams, drivers and fans will love the way it looks and sounds. Now Frédéric and his team, together with Lucas, will begin to put mileage on the car, focusing on durability. It’s a very exciting development and we can’t wait for that first race in Beijing in September 2014 to see all 20 cars lined-up on the grid.”


  1.   1. Posted By: Random 79
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 4:19 pm 

    “For the test, the car was fitted with a 50kw battery which is a quarter of the maximum 200kw power (270bhp) the final car will produce”

    So if my maths is right that means it was running on the shy side of 70bhp.

    That must have been one fast test! :D

    In truth, I am looking forward to seeing how this new series goes.

    Just looking at the thing is there any word about how tough they’ll be if they touch on track?

    Rubbing’s racing. :)

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    If that flaming Tesla is any indication, they will still be flammable.

    But equipped with deflector shields. Engage the deflector Mr. Schumi

    And what’s with the Nascar Days of Thunder quote?

    [Reply]

    grat Reply:

    Ask Kimi Raikkonen how fire proof F1 cars are. Or Mark Webber.

    Any time you have that much energy in that small a space, you have a chance of an exothermic reaction, no matter what the power source.

    You’ve got enough energy to move several hundred kg of weight at up to 220 km/h. That’s a massive amount waiting to be discharged.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Yeah I was thinking we were about due for another Star Trek gag :)

    Let’s be clear: I don’t want F1 to be Nascar.

    I am however tired of watching drivers pussy-footing it around the track only to have to pit to replace a busted tyre or front wing after even the slightest touch on track.

    If these things can race hard and bump each other a bit (not excessively) then I reckon they’ll go all right :)

    I also made that crack about it being a slow test, but then I watched the link that Matt put up down below us somewhere. If that’s how they go at 70ish bhp then at full power they should be a bit quick too :)

    p.s. Having deflector shields in F1 is not a bad idea – I trust you’ll get right on that Sebee? ;)

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Newey already has a deflector shield on Vettel’s car, so too late to act on that idea.

    You know it’s already there because:
    The magnetic field pushes him forward and away from other cars or objects.
    It’s why no one can get close to him.
    Also, why alternators fail on occassion.

    Random 79 Reply:

    Ah yes…now I know what you’re talking about.

    Williams have trialled a similar device on Maldonado’s car, but unfortunately they got the polarity back to front and so the results were not what they expected.

    Sebee Reply:

    So you’re saying Maldonado is not bi-polar?

    Random 79 Reply:

    No, I’m saying that on track the other drivers find him very attractive ;)

    DrewTX Reply:

    In all fairness to Tesla, their cars have faired no worse than fires in gasoline powered vehicles – and they arguably faired better. One involved a piece of metal that punctured quarter inch armor plate on the floor of the car. And in another case the owner drove over a roundabout and hit a tree.

    [Reply]

    Random 79 Reply:

    Good times :)

    Sebee Reply:

    Of course. Everything has limits and failure point. We talked about it in relation to tires. I’m sure Tesla is a fine car overall.

    I am just surprised that it is that flammable.


  2.   2. Posted By: Spyros
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 4:34 pm 

    Was it a test or a photoshoot? Videos seem to show the car being driven around a ‘chase car’…

    Also (and I hate to sound negative so early on), since one of the biggest challenges of this technology is getting to grips with the weight of the batteries, carrying out a test with a quarter the battery power doesn’t sound very definitive.

    Still, it’s too early to jump to conclusions, I guess.

    [Reply]

    Neil Reply:

    You don’t test a new plane by looping it. You build up to that. (And usually do it while the stress engineer is at lunch ;-)

    Starting the test program on 1/4 battery is sound engineering. IT lets them doa shake-down without all the stresses.

    Neil.

    [Reply]

    Spyros Reply:

    …or it might be because you still haven’t developed a battery pack capable of delivering the promised capacity AND light enough to fit in the car! :D

    [Reply]

    David Reply:

    From my reading of this piece, this sis a photshoot or a test. It’s like the trailer for a movie.

    [Reply]


  3.   3. Posted By: Jonathan Corwin
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 4:36 pm 

    Now I suspect thousands of readers of this site are about to bombard the comments saying how terrible they think it sounds.

    I just want to say that please don’t knock this because it doesn’t sound like an F1 car. Many folk enjoy watching sprinters running 100m, or cyclists around the velodrome and they don’t have noisy engines. If you like F1 for the sound, then this isn’t for you. Fortunately there are plenty of others who will enjoy this just for the racing. (And I happen to like the sound anyway but I am a bit of a sci-fi fan ;)

    Oh but by all means please do knock it for the swapping cars and getting-boosts-by-vote malarkey. That is plain silly and should never have left the brainstorming table.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I wasn’t sure but then noted that the thing was running on 1/4 power for this test. On a street track with 4 x the power of the car in this video, could be quite good I reckon. The noise will be something they need to be careful with though

    [Reply]

    Stephane Reply:

    about the noise is it the real noise or some sort of ”make up ” sound a bit like the road electric cars that make a kind of fake turbine sound just for pedestrian so they can actually hear a car is coming

    [Reply]

    grat Reply:

    It’s a real noise from the electric motor. Most electric cars have some amount of whine to them.

    The target dB range is around 80, which is kind of quiet (think city bus).

    Quercus Reply:

    The thing we didn’t hear on the video was the noise of the tyres (I guess difficult with only 70bhp). I reckon at full power it’s tyre squeal that will be dominant; and very interesting to listen to as it’s totally drowned out in the petrol formulae.

    But what was Grassi saying about gears? I thought the whole point of electric power was maximum torque available at all revs?

    [Reply]

    Rob Reply:

    For electric motors, max torque at 0 rpm, 0 torque at no-load (ie max) speed. See http://lancet.mit.edu/motors/motors3.html for the typical torque/speed curve.

    You’ll need a CVT or a gearbox to keep the torque up at higher speeds. Or, one honking huge or super well-cooled electric motor with a very wide operating range. I’m supposing they’re trying to keep the motor light weight, and maybe it has a lower no-load speed, necessitating said gearbox?

    Alternatively, they designed it in in a nod to nostalgia? Better driveability?

    j Reply:

    At the Montreal GP I attended I was in a grandstand on a chicane and with the combination of the cars being off throttle, the overpass containing the sound and the exits of the exhaust the cars were fairly quiet until they exited the second corner and passed behind us. During practice and quali with less cars on the track it was really cool to be able to hear some of the tire noise of individual cars scrobbling into the corner under braking.

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    On the subject of the gearbox, check out this analysis by a former AMG F1 engineer who was involved in developing the Formula E prototype:

    http://currente.wordpress.com/2013/11/05/starting-positions-what-to-expect-from-shakedown/

    short answer: EVs don’t strictly speaking need a gearbox, but as Rob points out above, it will make for better racing)

    Quercus Reply:

    Thanks for the insight and the links, Ross;j;Rob. Very interesting!

    Yak Reply:

    Yeah, maybe it’ll be different when the car has full power available and it’s properly racing around a circuit, but some of the sounds in that video weren’t too appealing. It seemed to be basically whenever they went onboard, there was a whine that even just after a couple of minutes was rather irritating. The external shots I quite liked the sound of though.

    [Reply]

    Simmo Reply:

    Plus they will be at full throttle all the time (pushing), unlike here, and it is always worsened by the camera ;)

    [Reply]

    K Reply:

    What is “plain silly” is people like you thinking you have the right to tell others what to think and what to like.

    It sounds like your average vacuum cleaner and it looks like a kid drew it in kindergarden and it will be slower than F1. So people will mention this, freedom of speech and all.

    [Reply]

    David Reply:

    What isn’t slower than F1?

    [Reply]

    Ace Reply:

    Red bull air races….. Sorry you set that one up lol

    Mikeboy0001 Reply:

    +1

    [Reply]

    Aaron Reply:

    I think the sound of these cars is fascinating. It wasn’t obvious in this video because it was only running at low speeds, but I’ve seen videos of these electric cars pushing the limit and being able to hear the tyre squeal as they corner is really interesting. You can’t hear it in conventional motorsport because the engine drowns out the noise, but with the electric cars you get to hear how hard the tyres are working.

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Matt
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 4:39 pm 

  5.   5. Posted By: Ben
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 4:46 pm 

    I am looking forward to this series although I do see it taking a few years to develop fully (the idea of having to change cars halfway through the race is a bit ridiculous) but as the technology improves and if the talent/money/development is pumped into the sport it has the opportunity to really be something interesting.

    Is there any news about how this will be televised (in the UK) if at all? And while we are on the topic why is GP2 and GP3 not televised at all or is it? A highlights show on the red button after F1 races would be really appreciated. If it is televised on sky F1, I will stand corrected but I’m not going to spend £30 a month for 1 channel….

    [Reply]

    Clear View Reply:

    Yes GP2 and GP3 also I think a Porsche series are covered on sky, full practice qually and races. On a GP weekend you can watch cars race pretty much Friday morning right through to Sunday afternoon. To have that 2-3 weekends a month I feel is worth the extra cost, but I already had phone&broadband from Sky so it wasn’t as much as £30 a month extra to get basic HD package for TV.

    Some of the support races are really good I can’t deny that. Occasionally I would say they are carnage but most times just very tight racing as they are spec series’ and they are fairly short races so no slow periods really. Well worth watching is MHO

    [Reply]

    The kitchen cynice Reply:

    Yep, as noted above GP2 and GP3 are carried on SkyF1. Interestingly, other series that are covered on Sky are put on their other general sports channels, however illogical this might seem. Presumably Bernie has an exclusivity clause for FOM product on the SkyF1 channel.

    [Reply]

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    No indications yet about UK broadcast, though we’ve been promised live streaming over the internet. Fingers crossed the BBC takes an interest. With just day per circuit that includes practice, qualy and race, can’t see Sky setting up a whole new channel for it. Though perhaps the F1 channel could simply become a “racing” channel?

    [Reply]

    F1.6T Reply:

    Formula E is run at winter time opposit to F1 calender so it could easily be show live on sky F1 should they choose to do so as there will be almost no F1 coverage at that time of year and even testing is in the week so wouldn’t interfere with that coverage.


  6.   6. Posted By: Paul D
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 4:49 pm 

    James – you are clearly a big supporter of Formula E, as you’ve given it a lot of coverage on here over the past year.

    Do you believe it will be a success, or go the way of A1 GP, GP Masters etc

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Not necessarily a supporter, but very interested to see if it works out. I think it’s exciting

    It’s no comparison to A1 GP, Superleague Formula etc for the simple reason that
    a) it’s an FIA world championship
    b) Those other series were poor relations of F1 (very poor). Formula E is a vanguard series, working on future technologies towards which F1 will eventually be heading. It may not end up as EVs running on batteries, it could be a series where the cars have secondary coils, picking up electricity from a primary coil under the track surface etc. It’s all about the future, which I find exciting. Whether the launch spec of Formula E is the right answer, time will tell, but they’ll adapt it to something that works and one (far off) day it will probably converge with F1

    [Reply]

    Clear View Reply:

    That all sounds massively exciting to be fair. I feel that same that it’s a very interesting concept and format that will allow these technologies to be showcased to the world. Also what better way to promote development in this are than have a racing series based around it, especially the battery/energy supply technology.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Coils in the track? Well, that would keep them inside the white lines finally.

    Why not the next step? Formula MagLev? Sounds Russian too.

    [Reply]

    The kitchen cynice Reply:

    Wouldn’t that basically be real life Scalextric?

    James Allen Reply:

    Yep!

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    +1 to keeping inside the track. Though Formula E will be on city circuits, so staying within the perimeters will be the most painless way to race…!

    Sebee Reply:

    The kitchen cynice,

    Here is quote form the race commentary. Don’t ask how I know…I just know.

    “…Schumacher has rejoined racing to help Mercedes be featured in this new age of racing. …but wait, here he comes, he’s right on the rail of the #4 car, what a fantastic setup by Schumacher, he has the draft, he’s pulling out to the left, oh no…he got diverted into the double loop-de-loop! What an unfortunate coincidence.”

    Spyros Reply:

    At the very least, I hope it allows Williams to make some interesting developments on battery technology, for their 2014 F1 cars.

    [Reply]

    Troy W Reply:

    Yep, then all that would be needed is a pin coming down from the front of the car, and a couple of grooves in the track…oh, wait…

    [Reply]

    Paul D Reply:

    Thanks for the detailed response.

    Interesting angle on the potential future convergence with F1…. Never thought of that.

    James Allen the visionary :-)

    [Reply]


  7.   7. Posted By: Sebee
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 5:42 pm 

    ABT Audi in to race a car with Renault design and Power. Intersting. But smart for Audi to keep tabs on this, as it has the potential to grab interest away from LeMans series Hybrid/Diesel efforts.

    [Reply]

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    Not Renault power. Motors coming from McLaren (modified version of the P1 tech) and batteries from Williams. Renault are in charge of “integration”. Which means…um…

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: Peter
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 5:51 pm 

    Good initiative, but very annoying sound in my opinion. They should make the sound deeper, it must be possible..

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    The sound is what it is; it’s the gearbox “whirring” and the high RPM, spinning electric armature (turbine).

    [Reply]

    A-P Reply:

    The type of sound is ok, but I also found that the particular pitch being reached before a gear change to be peculiarly aggravating.

    Aside from that detail, I’m all for the concept.

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: Athlander
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 5:54 pm 

    It’s been interesting following the development of Formula E. It seems they’ve understood that Formula 1 took many years to reach the stage where all the teams were building their own cars and in some cases their own engines.

    I wonder if there will be any ex-F1 drivers racing – folk like Heidfeld and Kobayashi, for example.

    [Reply]

    Andrew Carter Reply:

    Sato looks a good bet as he’ll be doing the initial testing for Super Aguri, particularly with the IndyCar calendar condensed down to finish in late August.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: D.Clark
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 5:54 pm 

    Thanks for posting this video, I am looking forward to this series. To Jonathan Corwin point- I to like the sound and with 4 times the power it could sound even better. I hope they can bring a few big names to get the headlines and draw in bigger names when it gets going. Thank you James for the updates and for having a great F1 blog, not full of rumors!

    DC

    [Reply]


  11.   11. Posted By: Jim
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 5:56 pm 

    I was wondering if there is any environmental imperative for this series? From where does the electricity come from to charge the batteries? I would guess it’s a coal powered plant, which kinda defeats the purpose of running a car on electricity.

    [Reply]

    Adrian Newey Jnr Reply:

    You forgot about the 4 747s needed to fly everything around the world….

    [Reply]

    I know Reply:

    They could easily buy “green” electricity to power all formula E races, just like some electric car schemes promise to only use electricity from renewables. I guess it depends on who will sponsor the series.*

    Formula E by itself, like all motor racing, will be a waste of resources. However, if it helps engineering electric vehicles, and more importantly, if it gets people to appreciate that you don’t need to burn fossil fuels to have fun, its overall impact may well be positive.

    *the way buying green electricity works, of course, is by either buying the respective RECS certificates (although under current market conditions, that does not necessarily make a difference), or directly investing in the production of renewable energy. The energy used in the race will still come from the grid, of course, but that can be offset by the extra green energy produced.

    [Reply]

    jim Reply:

    I get that, but you WILL have to burn fossil fuels to have fun, as there would be no electricity/transport/manufacture/tyres etc without them.
    Its all very well engineering an electric motor, but whats the point when you need to burn coal to produce electricity to run the motor?!
    And ‘buying green energy’ seems like a scam to me lol. Im not gonna get into an environmental debate, but these subsidised, inneficcient wind turbines(which need backed up by a coal plant) produce about 4% of our electricity. I dont think there is enough land on the British Isles to have enough turbines.
    Its all a way of people to make money on the back of false ‘environmental’ claims.
    Its a shame, but electric cars with the claims of being ‘green’ are simply untrue. Not to mention the way the lithium for the batteries is mined and diposed of. Horrific!

    [Reply]

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    Good point. However, as power grids get cleaner with more efficient plants, more renewables in the mix and (possibly) more nuclear, the racing will get greener too.
    That doesn’t explain away the manufacturing emissions of course of all that rubber, carbon fibre and lithium ion battery packs…

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Sarvar
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 5:57 pm 

    It sounds like a taking off plane at its start))

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: ferggsa
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 6:25 pm 

    Sounds a bit weird but looks great, especially the low profile tyres

    [Reply]


  14.   14. Posted By: tim
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 6:57 pm 

    Noise appreciation is an acquired taste. And while this is NOT the sound of a V8 (offhand, it reminds me of a dentist’s drill), if the cars are fast and the racing is close, I could get used to it. Besides, I didn’t see a single platypus nose during the whole test. THANK YOU!

    [Reply]

    James Clayton Reply:

    re: “Besides, I didn’t see a single platypus nose during the whole test. THANK YOU!”

    To be fair, at the moment it’s essentially a spec series, so the manufacturer is going to ensure the cars look good over going a couple of tenths faster per lap.

    Only once it’s opened up and the engineers have had a few years hacking away at the cars, will we be able to tell if the regulations can sustain good looking vehicles! :)

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: shri
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 7:03 pm 

    I hope the battery technology learned from this series be transformed to normal road cars quickly.

    [Reply]


  16.   16. Posted By: john
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 7:04 pm 

    James, are you intending to give Formula E full coverage in your blog, or to refer to it occasionally?.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I hope to

    [Reply]

    Erik Reply:

    Do it mate, give this series every chance to succeed.

    [Reply]

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    Happy to help!

    [Reply]

    Stephen Taylor Reply:

    Any British TV/ Radio Stations interested in Formula E , James?

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Ronnie
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 7:05 pm 

    The sound reminds me of Star Wars – a bit higher pitched than my liking, but good enough.

    Tesla Model S P85+ road car has an 85kw battery with 416-hp/443-lb-ft induction AC electric motor. Not so clear about why the final FE car would have 200kw power (270bhp)

    Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk believes in an electric car dominated future – like the ICE (internal combustion engine) car dominated present. The idea of F1 & FE convergence in the article is an intriguing one.

    As an EV owner, I’m rooting for its future with my heart and my money. Putting the environment aside, it’s a better platform for motor vehicle – 100% torque at 0 rpm or any other rpm. No ICE has that. With the space saved from not having all that ICE related supporting parts, it can be much safer too.

    Look forward to the Beijing race. Am thinking about if I should go :-)

    [Reply]

    I know Reply:

    You are partly confusing battery capacity (Wh) with power (W). More importantly, in racing, and street racing in particular, it is not so much about total power as it is about power to weight ratio, as that determines the acceleration. A Formula E car weighs about a third of a Tesla Model S, so its power to weight ratio is about two times higher.

    [Reply]

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    On the power to weight thread, there are some comparisons here which helps put the Formula E car’s seemingly insipid powertrain in context:

    http://currente.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/recalibrating-the-power-to-weight-context-for-formula-e/

    [Reply]

    I know Reply:

    Thanks, that’s a good post. It is also worth remembering that aerodynamics are very important. If it wasn’t for minimum weight limits, F1 (or indeed FE) car could quite easily achieve even higher power to weight ratios by dropping some of their aero parts, but while that may indeed improve acceleration or top speed, it would result in slower lap times.

    It’s easy to build more powerful electric motors, so the limiting factor of electric car performance, right now, is the battery. I am quite sure that one could already build an electric prototype that could deliver a faster one-lap time than a current F1 car, simply by virtue of superior acceleration out of slow corners. Even more so if the F1 car loses its electric motor, and even though the current aerodynamic rules are tailor-made for internal combustion engines, including coandă exhausts etc that simply don’t have an electric equivalent. At the current development pace of combustion engines and batteries, it can only be a matter of time when electric cars out-race petrol-fuelled ones.


  18.   18. Posted By: Lee
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 7:06 pm 

    Where do you put the milk and eggs?

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: Dave P
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 7:10 pm 

    I note the low profile tyres… Michelin has wanted them for F1 for ages… I wonder if it is that fact, or low weight that made them choose low profile?

    It looks like scalelectric has finally arived, that sound reminded me of my scaletric track!

    [Reply]

    ChrisA Reply:

    Yes, F1 should move to LP tires. These cars look great. Let’s hope that some of the design flair makes the transition to F1.

    [Reply]

    Jim:) Reply:

    Yeah like the front wing to, better then the multi element mess on today’s f1

    [Reply]

    veeru Reply:

    what do you mean by low profile tyres? some other comments also mentioned it.

    what is it?

    [Reply]

    Phil Reply:

    The diameter of the wheel is larger making the tyre thinner (when viewed from the side).

    In F1 this would massively affect suspension as most of an F1 car’s suspension travel comes from deflection in the tyre. If F1 used low profile tyres the mechanical suspension would need to compensate.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Kieran
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 7:30 pm 

    Well, I’m ignoring the complaints about the noise and I’m just looking forward to the racing.

    As long as the cars can follow close, and do some do or die maneuvers on the streets of the capital cities of the world … I’ll be very happy.

    I’m not entirely sure about the look of the cars, though I like the 15″ rims. It’ll be interesting to see if F1 moves to those soon.

    Who knows, they might even not have a run-away winner :)

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Byron Lamarque
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 8:25 pm 

    You’ve got to take your hat off to the FIA. They’re certainly making a considerable effort to address automobile sustainability into the distant future. Very much looking forward to the races next year.

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: Grant H
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 8:29 pm 

    Any news if any major tv networks will show the series?

    I guess this will affect if the series becomes really successful eg tv will attract major brands etc

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Yes Fox has it for most markets (not UK)

    That was announced a few months ago

    [Reply]


  23.   23. Posted By: cookinflat6
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 9:09 pm 

    Lucas mentions the gearbox. Why does it need a gearbox when you have 100% torque delivery instantly at any revs?

    [Reply]

    Dags Reply:

    Im not an engineer by any means, I’m just your average couch potato who likes to watch fast cars go round and round and occasionally have a crash or two… I would hazard a guess and say that even with 100% torque available all the time at any revolution of the motor, having a gearbox would be used as a torque multiplier, just as it is in any other conventional car (there has to be a benefit otherwise it wouldn’t be in the car). Im wondering, does the car, or will the car have KERS? Makes sense to me to recover some of that lost energy during braking in the form of more electricities… Great blog JA, excellent read.

    [Reply]

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    Spot on.
    The cars will have regenerative braking apparently and a “push to pass” system that will derestrict them for short periods (total 200kW power but cars will run at 133kW for majority of race).

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: Reto
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 9:54 pm 

    Nice blog JA, I enjoy reading it since quite some time but this is my first post…

    Something seems strange with the statement about the battery size and how this should affect the power.
    Battery rating is energy (= kWh) and motor rating is power (= kW).
    If they have a “smaller” battery, with only 25% of the final capacity, this doesn’t necessarily lower the “system power” if the voltage of the battery remains the same! Only runtime will be a lot shorter (e.g. around 25%).

    Anyhow, small thing most likely not stated right…
    I’m sure they’ll figure the technology out before the season will start by end of 2014 as there is still a lot of time and there are companies with knowledge supporting the series!

    [Reply]

    ac_ace Reply:

    +1
    Battery size has nothing to do with the power the motor puts out. Just how long it can go for.

    [Reply]

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    Good point. It seems they were running at lower power outputs too. The battery used was 8kWh, whereas the final product will be around 30kWh. Total available power will be 200kW, but apparently the car was running at 50kW on test.

    [Reply]

    Cliff Reply:

    A number of articles got this wrong. According to Formula E’s video, the car was running 1/4 motor power – 50 Kilowatts. They had a small test pack in rated at 8 KiloWatthours. The pack is around 1/4 of the size pack they plan to race with which is 30 KW-hours.

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: Ed3lva
        Date: November 21st, 2013 @ 11:24 pm 

    I’m excited for this new Formula E. Living in downtown Miami I can’t wait to watch a race.

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Paul Kirk
        Date: November 22nd, 2013 @ 12:57 am 

    I thought that if you fitted a battary with quarter the capacity, then it would go flat in quarter the time if it was being discharged at the same rate as the bigger battary. Of course if you wanted to make it last as long as the bigger battary you would discharge it at quarter the rate, (thereby having quarter the power). OK, that must have been what they were doing.
    I quite liked the sound and was surprised to hear the driver change gears.
    PK.

    [Reply]


  27.   27. Posted By: Dan
        Date: November 22nd, 2013 @ 1:14 am 

    I just hope this isnt where F1 ends up.

    It getting bad enough as is with kers and drs.

    [Reply]


  28.   28. Posted By: Marcelo Leal
        Date: November 22nd, 2013 @ 2:28 am 

    Adrian will be allowed to design a car for this series?
    ;-)

    [Reply]

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    Wouldn’t do him any good – no aero development allowed!

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: Thomas in Adelaide
        Date: November 22nd, 2013 @ 3:28 am 

    Should be investing money into viable Hydrogen power units – electric cars = greenwashing at its finest.

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Tyler
        Date: November 22nd, 2013 @ 7:34 am 

    I see no problem with the noise… its an electric car…what do people expect? Your hearing the gearbox I would guess. I think its very cool, if you expect it to sound like F1 or any other internal combustion car…..oh wait that’s right…its electric! Some of the comments here make you shake your head. Fantastic idea in my view, and I think the car is no worse looking than the current generation F1 cars. We are all use to them now and they were odd looking at first.

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: Tom Haythornthwaite
        Date: November 22nd, 2013 @ 7:57 am 

    I love the sound of F1 engines but I can embrace FE too.

    James, please explain why the FE cars will have gears.

    I’m also surprised there was choreography with a camera car on the ‘first test’. Sign of the times, I suppose. Still, it didn’t seem as choreographed as di Grassi’s ‘spontaneous’ remarks.

    [Reply]

    Ross (@Current_E) Reply:

    The whole thing has been finely calculated for maximum marketing effect at every step of the way so far. Bernie, eat your heart out.

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: Ian Angel
        Date: November 22nd, 2013 @ 8:47 am 

    Sounds like my RC car. Find it neither appealing or fascinating. Racing is about high hp, and monstrous noise. This is neither. Beyond that the environmental damage done by producing the batteries is far worse than the carbon emissions caused by fossil fuel driven engines, with out even taking in account their disposal as well. Hydrogen would be a much better alternative.

    [Reply]

    ManOnWheels Reply:

    Strange, I thought racing was about getting to see the checkered flag first.

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: Ian Pringle
        Date: November 22nd, 2013 @ 10:52 am 

    I still don’t see where the money is going to come from to make this series work.

    Single day events on street circuits are going to be hugely expensive.
    Two cars per driver.
    Looking at the calendar they will have to air freight quite a bit between rounds.

    The only way it works is if manufacturers really start to subsidise it, but that would take a lot of money away from other motorsport. Would Audi run less cars in DTM or reduce GT3 support to fund this? I hope not. Are Renault/Nissan going to do this instead of a return to Le Mans in 2015?

    If this was a test bed for a new quantum leap in battery technology then that would be different but its not. Meanwhile F1 and LMP1 are really starting to push hybrid development.

    I used to think that this was just a marketing exercise that would fade away, but now I actually worry that it might happen and affect budgets elsewhere.

    [Reply]

    I know Reply:

    My prediction is that it won’t have too much of an effect on F1 in the short term – in case you haven’t noticed, a lot of the recent money flowing into F1 has come from countries like the UAE, Bahrain, Singapore, Malaysia, Venezuela, Russia, etc.

    One thing they all have in common, apart from stellar human rights records, is wealth that is wholly or partly founded on fossil fuels, so they are not suddenly going to pull out of F1 and sponsor an electric car series. Likewise, car sales are still hugely dominated by internal combustion engines, and of course, the most famous drivers in the world all drive F1 cars.

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: Roth
        Date: November 23rd, 2013 @ 10:42 am 

    Like 80% of the sound heard in this video is actually the gearbox not the motor.

    And there are videos out there of this thing in use on a street course at more power.

    It was all gearbox squeals in slower stuff and tyres on the fast bits. But less tyre squealing than you think. If they are gripping its a rubbing sound if they are sliding its a squeal type sound.

    [Reply]


  35.   35. Posted By: JR
        Date: November 23rd, 2013 @ 12:16 pm 

    Fan boost … Winners effectively chosen by a Eurovision style phone vote, can’t see that getting rigged to manipulate the series :D

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: Antonio Miguel
        Date: November 23rd, 2013 @ 11:45 pm 

    It sounds like my vacuum cleaner.

    [Reply]


  37.   37. Posted By: jim
        Date: November 25th, 2013 @ 3:34 pm 

    Not that im suggesting impropriety, but why when I asked about the environmental credos of this series, is the comment removed? I did not swear, defame, insult anyone, just asked about why this electricity is being used to power cars, when the electricity itself is generated by coal?
    Seemed quite a resonable observation/question

    [Reply]


  38.   38. Posted By: Davexxx
        Date: November 28th, 2013 @ 3:00 am 

    What happened to the Video clip? It was fascinating but, wanting to see it again (27 Nov) it’s “been removed by the user”…. James?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    Not me. No idea.

    Will take a look

    [Reply]


  39.   39. Posted By: Gordon Hargest
        Date: December 5th, 2013 @ 10:01 pm 

    Will this be shown on terestrial tv or will it be on Sky Sports?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    That’s not known yet

    [Reply]

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