Formula E season five gets underway this weekend, and the opening race in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia marks the long-awaited debut for the championship’s groundbreaking second generation car which was announced earlier this year.
Dubbed ‘the Batmobile’ for its aggressive appearance, Formula E’s ‘Gen2’ car attracted widespread praise from within the motorsport world for its sleek and futuristic design, but there’s plenty more besides its eye-catching appearance for fans to get excited about this season.
Firstly, a significant step forward in battery technology means drivers will no longer be forced to stop halfway through the race to change cars. Energy storage has increased to 54 kilowatt-hours, a staggering 95% increase with just a 20% increase in weight.
As well as being able to go longer, drivers can now go faster than ever before thanks to a 25% increase in power. The electric motors used in Formula E were previously limited to a top speed of around 225kph, but that’s been bumped up to a speedy 280kph this coming season.
For the first time this season, Formula E will use an electronic break-by-wire system, as used in other series such as Formula 1 in recent years. This cutting-edge technology will maximise regen under braking and will provide improved feel for the drivers.
There’s also a change to the tyres for season five, with a lighter, more durable design supplied by Michelin, with enhanced grip and improved warm-up that should allow the drivers to push more.
The Gen2 car may look great, but there’s a reason why the championship has opted for such a radical design for its second generation model. The redesigned chassis introduced this year will manage airflow and minimise drag more effectively than its predecessor, which should help to promote closer racing.
One change which may divide opinion, however, is the introduction of the much-maligned ‘halo’ to improve driver head protection, but the one you’ll see used in F1, Formula E’s version of the halo will incorporate striking LED lighting to indicate to fans when a driver is using Fanboost or Attack Mode.
Image Credit: ABB
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