The Formula E racing series could change everything we know and love about racing, and to me that’s a very good thing. This all-electric race series has steadily lined up 10 world-class cities, and now the official race car of the Formula E series has been revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
I’ve covered the Formula E series extensively in the past couple of years, from the filling out of its city roster to the addition of many big names, including the Andrettis and McLaren, who have signed on for the inaugural season. A partnership between French automaker Renault and Spark Racing technology has delivered the Spark-Renault SRT_01E race car, with impressive specs and lots of performance promise.
The Spark-Renault Formula E race car will deliver a maximum output of 200 kW, or about 270 horsepower sent to the rear wheels. However, just 180 of that horsepower will be used during regular racing to maximize battery life, with the other 90 horsepower available via a special boost button. The carbon fiber and aluminum body weighs just 1,763 pounds, allowing for 0 to 60 mph acceleration of just 3 seconds, and a top speed of 140 mph. That’s one fast green car.
While similar to the KERS hybrid system used in Formula 1 racing, Formula E adds an extra layer of tactics to the limited use of the boost button. Do racers conserve their battery life for an extra lap or two, or do they use it to gain position at a critical point in the race? It should definitely make races more interesting.
Unfortunately, one downside of this all-electric racing series is the necessity of racers to swap cars instead of batteries mid-race. While this is largely due to safety concerns, it will still serve to interrupt the “flow” of the race, though no more than your standard tire-and-fuel pit stop. Eventually though, I hope to see battery swapping, instead of car swapping.
The Formula E series makes its world debut next September, with Berlin, Germany likely to serve as the launchpad city. I’m starting a travel fund today.
Source: Formula E