DS E-Tense Imagines a Future without Disc Brakes

·2 min read
Photo credit: DPPI
Photo credit: DPPI
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
  • DS E-Tense Performance concept tests regenerative brakes as sole mode of deceleration, instead of disc brakes.

  • The concept is built around the brand's Formula E car, producing 815 hp and 5900 lb-ft of torque.

  • DS Automobiles, part of Stellantis and created from the Citroën brand, currently offers a number of EVs and PHEVs in Europe.

Just about all EVs on the market currently feature regenerative braking, some smoother than others, but what about an electric car that doesn't have traditional friction brakes at all?

That's one of the technologies being tested in the DS E-Tense Performance concept, which imagines a future where disc brakes could become an obsolete piece of tech.

The E-Tense concept itself is the Citroën sub-brand's experimental coupe that features the company's Formula E drivetrain beneath the futuristic bodywork. This means the sleek coupe has 815 hp and 5900 lb-ft of torque to play with (in capable factory test driver hands, for now), boasting 2.0-second launch times from 0 to 62 mph.

Instead of using conventional disc brakes, the DS is testing using just the two onboard motors themselves to slow the coupe down, generating electricity in the process.

The concept still features traditional discs and pads for safety, borrowed from the Formula E program.

"The DS E-Tense Performance's battery was inspired by electric car racing and developed jointly with TotalEnergies and its subsidiary Saft," the automaker notes. "The result of research by this partner, it hides an innovative chemistry and an immersive cooling system for cells, at odds with current technology—thanks to a bespoke design of Quartz EV Fluid solution."

Photo credit: Laurent Nivalle
Photo credit: Laurent Nivalle

The E-Tense Performance concept was created as a high-performance laboratory, effectively clothing a Formula E car's underpinnings in a suit for the street with a few luxuries thrown in, like a Focal Utopia sound system.

"Formula E is about maximizing performance and efficiency, and the DS E Tense Performance is our vision of a road car utilizing our race-winning technology," said Beatrice Foucher, DS Automobiles CEO. "Regenerative braking is a very powerful way to not only slow the vehicle down, but also help improve battery performance. The DS E Tense Performance takes the technology to a new level, with regenerative braking used solely to slow the vehicle down."

The DS brand itself was created just eight years ago, launched as a luxury brand from Citroën and named after its innovative 1950s sedan, which featured an hydropneumatic suspension and self-centering steering. Now part of the Stellantis, Citroën and DS are both heading into the electric era, as well as EV racing.

The concept is a one-off prototype, so we wouldn't expect a Formula E car with a coupe exterior to go on sale in Europe anytime soon. But the technologies tested in the car will likely be seen in production EVs not too far in the future.