The new season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship sprints from the starting line on Saturday, December 15 with advanced technology that promises tighter competition and even more on-track action.
Thanks to major gains in battery capacity, cars this season can – for the first time – drive from start to finish on a single charge, with greater peak performance available throughout the race. As Frank Muehlon, Head of ABB’s Global Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure confirms: “The greatest gains we will see this year are in battery technology: with just 20 percent more weight they deliver 95 percent more energy. That really is testament to the power of e-mobility.”
Reflecting the rapid advances in electric vehicle technology being made globally – a technological revolution in which ABB is playing a pioneering role – the Gen2 car features comprehensive performance and safety upgrades over its predecessor:
|Gen2 (Season 5)||Gen1 (Season 1-4)|
|Top speed, kph (mph)||280 (174)||225 (140)|
|Acceleration, 0 – 100 kph (0 – 62 mph))||2.8 seconds||3.0 seconds|
|Power in race mode, kW (hp)||200 (270)||180 (240)|
|Maximum power, Attack Mode||250 (335)||n/a|
|Battery capacity, kWh||54 (full race length)||28 (car swap mid-race)|
|Battery voltage||900 volts||700 volts|
|Battery weight, kg (pounds)||385 (849)||320 (705)|
|Minimum Weight, kg (pounds)||900 (1,984)||880 (1,940)|
|Race length||45 minutes + 1 lap||Laps varied by track|
The factors that make the ABB FIA Formula E Championship such a thrilling series – closely matched performance, a dependence on smart power-management strategy – are sharpened by the new technology aboard the Gen2 racecars of ABB Formula E. Wheel-to-wheel battles will be more intense thanks to innovations such as a power-boosting Attack Mode that can be activated by drivers in designated zones on the track. Moreover, races will be time-limited to 45 minutes (plus one lap), rather than the more typical set lap count.
Fans are sure to appreciate the effect of larger capacity batteries fitted to the Gen2 cars. These new units eliminate the need for mid-race car swaps of earlier seasons, which were necessary because the earlier batteries could not last an entire race.
Season 5 race days will be further enhanced by the addition of ABB Formula E’s new support race, the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series, for which ABB will provide compact high-performance Terra DC chargers. The chargers used by eTROPHY race cars are based on ABB technology, of which more than 8500 were sold in 69 countries.
For their transport to the 10 races around the world in this season’s Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series, ABB specially-made compact Terra DC chargers that meet the size requirements of airplane cargo holds.
“This commitment to delivering solutions tailored precisely to the needs of our customers is exactly what ABB excels at,” Frank Muehlon said. “Our partnership with the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY series is another example of ABB’s ability to meet big challenges with innovative engineering.”
TECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ABB FORMULA E GEN 2 CAR
- BATTERY Energy storage is increased to 54 kilowatt-hours – nearly double last season’s 28 kWh batteries – and voltage has been increased to 900, from 700. As a result, the midrace pit stop to swap cars is eliminated. During the race, energy recovered while braking charges the battery.
- TIRES For Season 5, Michelin re-engineered the treaded all-weather design for lighter weight and lower rolling resistance, as well as faster warm-up. Each car is permitted two sets of tires per event.
- BRAKES Gen2 cars of the ABB Formula E series get an electronic brake-by-wire system at the rear, replacing the previous hydraulic system. This cutting-edge technology improves the operation of the regenerative braking system.
- CHASSIS A new carbon fiber and aluminium honeycomb structure from Dallara of Italy is used by all 11 of the 2-car teams. The Gen2 bodywork borrows design elements from endurance racing cars: front tires are now enclosed to reduce wind drag.
- POWER UNIT In Season 5, the electric motors will be allowed a 250 kW limit, up from a previous maximum of 200 kW. That translates to a top speed of 280 kph, compared with 225 kph last season.The electric motors also serve as generators under braking.
- AERODYNAMICS The bodywork of the Gen2 car has been redesigned, managing airflow to minimise wind drag and add grip-enhancing downforce at racing speed. Rear wings are now integrated with the fenders; last season’s standalone wing is gone.
- SAFETY Gen2 cars are equipped with a “halo” structure over the driver compartment for head protection. The halo incorporates LED lights that will show spectators when the high-power Attack Mode and FanBoost systems are active.
- SUSPENSION Building on the long experience of chassis builder Dallara, the Gen2 cars are fitted with suspension arms constructed of carbon fiber, shaped to minimise wind resistance and robust enough to withstand the uneven surfaces of city-centre racecourses.
- COOLING Radiators mounted at the exit of air ducts in the bodywork provide critical cooling for the battery and drivetrain. Maintaining optimum temperatures of the electrical components is vital for maximum output and efficiency.
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