FIA Looks For Sole Battery Supplier And Sole Chassis Supplier For Formula E’s Fifth Season

MAR 15 2016 BY MARK KANE 5

2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship. Putrajaya ePrix, Putrajaya, Malaysia. Saturday 7 November 2015.

2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship. Putrajaya ePrix, Putrajaya, Malaysia. Saturday 7 November 2015.

It’s confirmed that there will be no direct competition in battery technology in Formula E for at least in the first five years.

But two tenders are now on the table:

  • a sole supplier for the battery
  • a sole supplier for the chassis

Previously for seasons 1-4, Williams Advanced Engineering became the sole battery supplier, while Dallara took chassis.

We hoped to see different batteries in the fifth season,  but it has been decided that will not happen, and there is no clear indication whether the sixth season will be different.

Teams can now (in the second season) use different motors, inverters and gearboxes with path to increase power output every year up to 250 kW in 5th season.

Formula E expects that the battery in the 5th season will be energy dense enough to use only one car for the whole race distance. Current pack energy is 30+ kWh (28 kWh is usable for teams) so the new pack should be at least in the 60 kWh range (like the Chevrolet Bolt and next-generation LEAF).

Formula E battery

Formula E battery

Competition in different batteries to be allowed in the next step in the future.

“The tenders are for season five of the all-electric championship, which will take place during 2018/2019. The decision lays the foundations for reaching a dual strategic aim: the use of a single car for the entire duration of the race, while also keeping costs under control.

The move follows the philosophy adopted in the evolution of the regulations regarding the powertrain: a single supplier to begin with, then open to competition in the next phase. The plan is that once the aforementioned contract period is over, entrants will be able to either develop their own battery or continue using the existing one, as is the case this season with the original powertrain.”

“The decision to continue with a sole supplier for the chassis also stems from a desire to control costs. The key points of the tender were aimed at producing attractive cars that are ingrained with a spirit that looks to the future, which is exactly this championship’s unique feature.

Furthermore, this decision also maintains one of the unique characteristics of the championship, with its defining feature being the energy source – the powertrain and battery – rather than aerodynamics. With this in mind, the duration of the chassis contract will be linked to that of the battery supply. In both cases – the chassis and the battery – the existing suppliers are entitled to bid for the new tenders.

As has been the case in the short history of the championship to date, the FIA and Formula E Holdings will work together to harmonise the regulations with technical developments in the electric mobility sector, thus strengthening still further the links between racing and the realities of daily life.

The two tenders will be posted on on March 8 and candidatures must be in before June 8 this year.”

Formula E

Formula E

Professor Burkhard Goeschel, President of the FIA’s Electric and New Energy Championship Commission (ENECC) said:

“The decision of the WMSC means that Formula E takes a significant step forward, consolidating its position as one of the most important race series on a global level,”.

“We worked at length with the promoter and major stakeholders in motorsport to reach this result, which we share with all the Formula E teams. We all have the same vision for the long term, namely to create the best possible conditions in which to develop this new technology. We also want this sport to become the ideal platform for testing new solutions so that it is the pinnacle when it comes to electrically powered cars. At the same time we want to ensure it is accessible to all, with sustainable costs and that it provides all the prerequisites to produce a show that is attractive to the widest possible audience.”

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said:

“Opening up the tender for the season five battery supply will inspire further development in the key element of electric car technology. The new battery will be more powerful and have a longer range than the current unit. This is exactly the type of technological step change that Formula E was created to inspire. By keeping with a single supplier, we will also ensure that costs are kept under control and create a solid foundation for the continued growth of the series as a global entertainment brand.”

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5 Comments on "FIA Looks For Sole Battery Supplier And Sole Chassis Supplier For Formula E’s Fifth Season"

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While one car per race sounds great – the pit stop is an exciting segment of auto racing in general. Formula E stops, with drivers pulling into the pit garage to swap cars has shown to be pretty un-exciting. I’ve always advocated for a two-driver team for each car – one pulls out while the other pulls into the paddock. The 1 minute car exchange kind of seems awkward. Driver exchanges at the 24 Hours of LeMans are exciting because they’re done right there on pit row, wile mechanics are working on the cars. I do like the short nature of EV racing. While, as a fan in the stands I might feel ripped off as the races are over soon after they begin – it makes TV viewing great ( who has time for a 3 hour race ). Due to a busy schedule of late, I’m watching far less auto racing. Formula E is pretty interesting. With one chassis supplier and one battery supplier, it kind of blands down the sport a bit for me – even GASCAR has 3 body styles and engine provider marques. Indycar has Honda and GM and F1 cars look unique to their… Read more »

It’s been a long tome since I’ve watched any Nascar, but don’t they just have different decals on the same bodies? And aren’t the engine specs 100% identical?

The 5th gen, “Car of Tomorrow”, NASCARs were all the same with the only thing identifying it to their sponsored manufacturer – the decals representing grille, headlights and taillights. Today’s car has given teams the liberty of giving their car bodies some shape ( very limited within NASCAR rules packages ) to distinguish brand identity. The greenhouse area is the same for every car. These rules packages change with each year. Nosecones, as well as all specs have to conform tightly to those specs as not to offer advantage to one manufacturer. Changes in nosecones can be done as long as it’s passed through NASCAR officially. For instance, Ford redesigned the Fusion’s grille to be slightly smaller for 2017, and NASCAR allowed a smaller nosecone for Ford-backed NASCARs.

The engines come from different manufacturers as well but have to conform to tightly regulated specs in displacement, horsepower and many others.

It would seem proper to eventually license at least 2 battery providers for FE. Competition quickens advancement, and all.

LG vs. Panasonic or Samsung could be the new Mercedes vs. Ferrari, or Ford vs. Chevrolet. It might open up many new race venues in Asia, also.

Thats very true, if you just have one supplier, the others might not get involved so much and the one supplier doesn’t face as much competition.

There should be rules like only to be able to use 4 packs per season, or something like that. Safety measures. And that the packs must be able to get bought by other teams, for a discussed sum. But that should be it, no weight restrictions and if just a maximum weight restriction. And especially no power restrictions. FE should be all about energy management, so the teams will work out the best strategies.

There are lots of small companies, doing research on high energy, or high power dense batteries. Those cells still have low life cycles, but enough for racing and the it would really advance EVs, an argument Formula 1 always had, for ICEs of course.