For this upcoming Formula E series, manufacturers, teams and drivers will be making history in the sport. For the first time since the series was launched in 2014, drivers will finish the race in the car they started in, with the new generation of Formula E cars being capable to finish the entire race without having to switch out. The first few seasons required drivers to swap cars halfway through the race, as their batteries weren’t capable of finishing the race. Now, though, battery tech has advanced and the new Audi e-tron FE05 is one of the cars leading the charge (crappy pun intended).
While most of the new generation of Formula E cars’ components will be identical for teams, manufacturers can make their cars stand by developing their own drivetrain. For instance, the new Audi e-tron FE05 will use its own drivetrain, which consists of the motor, inverter, gearbox, components of the rear suspension, as well as the corresponding software. That’s quite a bit of unique components, enough to possibly help give it a competitive advantage.
This new generation of electric motor and powertrain is called the Audi Schaeffler MGU03 and was co-developed by Audi and Schaeffler. “We retained the basic concept with one gear and at the same time refined the details and manufactured all of the parts,” says Tristan Summerscale, Formula E Project Leader at Audi. The basic concept of the new and old motor generations are similar but 95-percent of the drivetrain are new and Audi/Schaeffler were able to lose ten percent of weight.
These new Formula E cars also use a new brake-by-wire system that allows the brake control and transmission to the rear axle to be decoupled from each other and be electronically controlled. This helps to optimize brake balance and distribution while increasing the efficiency of energy recuperation.
Like most FIA races, power is limited for all teams’ cars, including the Audi e-tron FE05. For qualifying, power is limited to 340 hp but drops down to 272 hp for live races. However, there are new, so-called activation zones, where the drivers can briefly use a higher power, 306 hp mode. These will become strategic points in races, as drivers will have to decided whether to use the extra power or conserve their batteries. There will also be an online “FanBoost”, which allow fans to vote for their favorite driver, which can give them a temporary 340 hp during the race. Despite only having 272 hp normally, though, these cars can still hit 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. That’s very fast for having less than 300 hp.
The new Audi e-tron FE05 also looks different, With its new F1-style halo system, which sports a structural halo above the driver’s hard to improve safety, and lack of rear wing, the FE05 looks fantastic. That lack of rear wing is made up for with downforce gained from the massive rear diffuser. “When I head out onto the racetrack with the other cars, I feel like I’m in a science fiction movie,” says Daniel Abt. “
We’re excited for the upcoming season for Formula E and can’t wait to see Audi’s new electric car.