Formula E’s Gen3 Car Is Faster, Lighter, and More Efficient

·3 min read
Photo credit: Formula E
Photo credit: Formula E
  • Formula E has revealed its Gen3 car, which is smaller and lighter while being capable of a 200 mph top speed, up 16 mph from the previous car.

  • The car now features a front-mounted motor used exclusively for regeneration, and ditches rear brakes since the regenerative capability is so high.

  • Formula E also says it made the car more sustainable, recycling carbon fiber from the Gen2 cars for the body panels and sourcing more sustainable tires that will also be recycled after the races.

Formula E has been racing electric single-seaters around some of the world’s most iconic cities since 2014, and now the series has unveiled its third-generation race car. The Gen3 car brings myriad technical changes that will push the boundaries of electric-car performance, hopefully result in even closer, more nail-biting racing. We could possibly see some of these new technologies trickle down into electric road cars eventually.

Photo credit: Formula E
Photo credit: Formula E

The Gen3 car, at 197.5-inches long and 66.9-inches wide, is about seven inches shorter and just under four inches narrower than its predecessor. The car’s height also shrinks by about 1.5 inches. The minimum weight, including the driver, has also decreased by about 132 pounds, to just 1852 pounds. Performance is significantly increased. The Gen2 car had a 335-horsepower electric motor on the rear axle, but Gen3 ups that to 469 horsepower. Formula E predicts a top speed over 200 mph, a sizable increase over the previous car’s 174 mph top speed.

The Gen3 car also adds a second 335-hp motor to the front axle that's used exclusively for regeneration. The new powertrain will be vastly more efficient, with Formula E expecting more than 40 percent of the energy used within the race coming from regenerative braking. The Gen3 car also becomes the first open-wheel formula car without rear hydraulic brakes; it still has hydraulic brakes in the front, but relies heavily on regen from the front and rear motors to slow the car down.

Photo credit: Formula E
Photo credit: Formula E

Formula E claims up to 600 kilowatts of regenerative capacity and also 600 kilowatts of charging capability—significantly more than the charging capacity of today's most advanced roadgoing EVs—although the series didn’t explain where it would procure such powerful chargers. The series has suggested that recharging during pitstops might happen in this new generation, but gave no specifics about how this would work.

The Gen3 car is also said to be more environmentally friendly than before. Formula E says the batteries use sustainably sourced minerals and that the cells will be reused and recycled at the end of their life. Meanwhile, the body of the car is built from linen and recycled carbon fiber from the old Gen2 cars, which Formula E says reduces the carbon footprint of producing the body panels by more than 10 percent. The Gen3 cars' tires will also be made up of 26 percent natural rubber and recycled fibers, and all tires will be recycled after being used in the race.

The Gen3 car will debut for Season 9, which will likely kick off in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia in early 2023. So far, seven car manufacturers have signed up to race the Gen3 car for Season 9: Jaguar, Maserati, Nissan, Porsche, Citroen’s luxury arm DS Automobiles, India automaker Mahindra, and Chinese EV startup Nio. Three privateer teams round out the field.

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