The all-electric Formula E championship is off to a surprisingly good start since its launch in 2014 considering the level of difficulty associated with establishing a new racing championship.
It is still facing some technological problems, but most of them should be solved in the next generation of the race cars. We are now seeing the first pictures of the new concept.
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Spark Racing Technologies, an engineering firm owned by former Renault F1 team principal Frederic Vasseur, is the supplier of the current Formula E chassis and it was selected to design the next-gen chassis, which will debut during the 2018 season.
The new chassis has a sleek new look that is closer to a supercar than the previous generation.
Spark recently released a few renders showcasing the design and while it’s not the final car, the concept is a good indication of what we will see next season:
While they seem to have the aesthetics locked-in, the performance also needs improvements and Formula E promised to deliver next year.
Currently, due to battery limitations, each driver has two cars and switches between them mid-race in lieu of a traditional pit stop, but by season five the goal is for each team to have a single car which is capable of performing at race speed the whole race without recharging the battery.
McLaren is in charge of making that happen since they won the contract to supply batteries to Formula E for the next season. They will be taking over from Williams Advanced Engineering, the current battery supplier for the Championship, and they plan to double the energy capacity of the cars – from ~28 kWh to ~56 kWh.
Spark’s new chassis will also contribute to the increased range with better aero and lower weight. The company wrote:
This is a new challenge for Spark as the new car must go twice the distance of the current cars, which will be accomplished by more efficient aero design, lower weight and better efficiency in the drivetrain. Safety and innovation are the main drivers of this project. We will design a new chassis including a new battery tech that will be heavier. In order to gain 10% weight, we are working on new innovating solutions using new materials so the cars can be more efficient and we also have to focus on new developments to keep the drivers safe.
We will report back when we have the final design and specs of the new all-electric race car.