“Extremely Positive” Reactions To Power Increase For Season 4 Of Formula E

4 months ago by Motorsport.com 15

Venturi driver Maro Engel says the power increase confirmed for season four of the Formula E series is “extremely positive” for the championship.

The FIA World Motor Sports Council confirmed on Monday a 10kW race power hike for the electric series’ fourth campaign.

The move to allow the extra 10kW power usage, and enhance the total race power available from 170kW to 180kW, has been written within the all-electric series roadmap since 2015.

“I think it is extremely positive and it will make a difference,” Engel told Motorsport.com.

“The pace will be quicker and battery temperatures will change and it will make a difference related to the data which has been gathered this year and there will be faster races as well.

“In general the roadmap is there to continuously keep making Formula E faster and it is a positive idea as far as I am concerned.”

Andretti team principal Roger Griffiths said the effect of the power hike can only be judged once the length of the races is decided by the ruling body.

“I think the effect on energy management will come down to what the FIA decides to on race length,” Griffiths said.

“If the races are longer or even the same length, having the extra power will make it a little harder to complete the race, but perhaps people will have made efficiency improvements to their overall powertrains so this may compensate for some of it.

“The other aspect is that the increased power may bring marginally more heat into the system as the average power around the lap will increase slightly.”

The move to 180kW in the race is expected to assist the drivers slightly in that the delta between qualifying power (200kW) and race power (180kW) is now smaller.

Andretti driver Robin Frijns also approved of the extra power, but like Griffiths urged caution on race lengths, saying: “Every bit [of power] helps but then we need to stop making the races longer as the more energy we get the more we use too.”

Some teams believe though that the increase will be minimal, with Mahindra boss Dilbagh Gill saying: “Our simulations based on same race length do not have a huge impact.

“Powertrains are going to be slightly more efficient next year which helps negate a part of this.”

It is understood that the teams have come to a unanimous decision to again refresh the batteries after the end of the current season.

Extra test opportunities for season four

Additional changes for season four ratified by the WMSC also included more testing opportunities for the Formula E teams, with the return of an in-season test day.

The in-season test was scrapped this year after plans for a day of running after the Mexico City ePrix came to nothing.

For season four, it is believed that either Marrakesh or Mexico City again could host the extra day of running. Motorsport.com understands that the teams lobbied the promoters strongly to reinstate the in-season test.

Further running days have also been granted to the teams, with a rookie test and three extra promotional days granted.

The rookie test has been devised to bring new blood in the championship, and also to cover off any clashes some drivers may have with other series. Extra promotional days sees the total allowed rise from three to six, with an added ‘roadshow’ element set to feature in the marketing-led initiative.

Also announced by the FIA was the dropping of one of the non-qualifying practice sessions at double-header events.

Next season, three events – Hong Kong, New York and Montreal – are scheduled to be double-headers.

“The second day of a double-header always felt like groundhog day,” said Griffith. “The likelihood is now that the practice session on Sunday would run a bit later in the morning, say around 9:30am as opposed to 8am.

“That means if you had an incident in the race previous, you have more time to get the car ready without perhaps missing the first practice.”


15 responses to "“Extremely Positive” Reactions To Power Increase For Season 4 Of Formula E"

  1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “The pace will be quicker…”

    Not unless they stop doing races in cramped, narrow city streets.

    How ’bout using an actual race track or road course, guys? Hmmmm? You know… like real race cars do.

    1. Will says:

      I like the city tracks, it’s tight and fun. These cars would just look too slow on a big track like Spa, and the lack of corners would mean the batteries would deplete even faster.

      Oh and if you don’t think 10 kW extra power will make any difference you’re raving mad. More power is more power. Simple as.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        10 KW = 13.4 HP “extremely positive”?? He may simply be saying the cars need more than ~250HP.

        Tight, technical courses kill momentum. Only KW, or HP, get it back, then comes another sharp “90”. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for an EV series, to me, because you’re braking harder than the regen can handle (>150KW), and then your spending full KW’s out of the battery. Both actions heat the he11 out of it, well beyond what needs to be developed for street. Why not keep the speed up with more sweepers, or gentler turns? Cities aren’t all rigid blocks.

        Track driving is so far from what kinetic recovery systems (with big onboard batteries) can handle. Look at the pizzas, on the EP9. Those are regular (ceramic) brakes. In a Tesla, you turn regen to ‘Low’ and use your normal brakes much, much more, else you’re pitting sooner. Heat, heat, heat is a big reason why constantly dumping/soaking more like ~500KW isn’t currently possible. First, track BEVs need to sustain dumping that power, then in years time, maybe they’ll be able to soak it up as well.

        It must be a nightmare, to manage 150kw of regen from just the rear, and balance it with friction brakes as you’re turning into the next corner. I think the front end is just a normal, friction brake only, setup.

        1. Asak says:

          I think they do the tight courses both because EVs theoretically can regen the power (even if it exceeds the regen capabilities) and also because EVs accelerate fast from low speed. So it sort of takes advantage of both aspects of the drive train. It also sets it apart from other racing which is all on tracks, and there is probably less resistance to having tracks in the city since the EVs don’t pollute.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “…the batteries would deplete even faster.”

        Yes, but you see if Pushy were King of the World, then Formula E races would use battery swapping in lieu of swapping cars. Battery swapping pit stops would be like Formula 1 cars stopping to refuel, and competing to do that as fast as possible. With unlimited battery swapping, there would be no reason (or rather, far less reason) to worry about depleting the pack.

        Perhaps there are practical barriers to swapping battery packs during a race, but IMHO starting a race with one car and finishing with another — effectively, a relay race — makes “Formula E” less real racing events and more mere demonstrations.

        It’s really too bad that they hamstring EV racing with these rules. EV racecars potentially have better acceleration, and the races could be even more exciting than Formula 1… if they didn’t deliberately set up the races so that speed must be restricted for so much of the race.

        I won’t be watching any more Formula E races until, at the very least, they start finishing the race with the same car they start with.

        1. Asak says:

          With advances in battery tech, we’re probably only a few years away from not needing to swap cars or batteries.

          1. Nada says:

            In season 5 2018/2019 they will do away with car swaping and run one battery in one car for the whole race…
            Which is why BMW is waiting for season 5 to join and is also the season when Mercedes is considiring to join…

    2. Viking79 says:

      They are playing it safe. Last thing we need is a fire in a car killing a driver. Also, with the low power levels (relative to F1), a tight technical course is much more exciting to watch.

  2. DL says:

    When will they stop using street tires and get onto proper rubber?

    1. seth says:

      I’d rather have them keep the “street” tires. I mean, yes, you go faster on slicks, but it doesn’t neccesarily add excitement.

      On the lesser tires the car moves around a lot more. I see what the tires do in F1, but it’s faster, but not more exciting for the viewers. So I really don’t see what it accomplishes. Less downforce and less grip makes for more moveable cars.

      1. DL says:

        Then why have any aero on the car at all?

        Why not just have electric bumper cars?

        1. Nada says:

          I beleive the tires last an entire weekend instead of 50 laps and when they no longer have to switch cars at the mid point they might not need pit stops…
          They still do well over 100 so yes they need aero…

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Here’s some information on the tires:


      Being open wheel anyway, they can push aero and weight reduction and gain a lot more than they’d give up in terms of technology transfer.

  3. Nada says:

    The real changes are for season 5 2018 -2019…


    New car chasis that is run for the entire race…
    250kw peak power and 250kw energy harvesting…
    New 54kwh battery…
    Sony Energy Devices-derived cells for the battery, while US-based company Atieva will design, develop and manufacture the battery packs.

  4. Apkungen says:

    Haha! I had no idea the power limitation was so incredibly lame! Crank it up to 500kW or more and start racing real tracks and maybe then there will be some acceptance of electric cars! Damnit!

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