A Gen2 Formula E car of team Envision Virgin Racing

Riyadh – Saturday, December 1st, 2018: In just over two weeks, the beginning of the fifth season of Formula E is marked by the inaugural SAUDIA Ad Diriyah E-Prix, and sees the Gen1 Formula E car of the first four seasons replaced with the new Gen2 car. The Gen2 cars are faster, more powerful and more advanced than their predecessors, and will make this season a landmark in the history of the world’s fastest-growing motorsport series. 

All cars share a common chassis and aerodynamic package. This was designed by French firm Spark and built in collaboration with the prolific constructor Dallara, which has built everything from its own Formula 1 cars and junior racing chassis to the all-conquering series of cars from Audi that conquered the le Mans 24 Hours from 2000-2014. 

Consumable items like the wheels and tyres are also from one supplier in order to help limit costs and minimise the performance gap between teams. New for the 2018-19 season is the battery, which is an all-new unit provided by McLaren Advanced Technologies. The new battery not only produces more power – boosting output and speed – but also endurance.

The first-generation Formula E cars could complete 12-17 laps of a circuit (depending on length) on a single charge before drivers were forced to pit and switch to a second fully-charged car to complete the race. They would also reach a maximum speed of 137 mph (220 km/h). In comparison the new generation of cars will complete a full 45-minute race distance on a single charge and reach 176 mph (283 km/h).

Mitch Evans (NZL), Panasonic Jaguar Racing, Jaguar I-Type 3

The new cars will speed through the 21 turns of a 2495 metre long track through historic UNESCO World Heritage Site Ad Diriyah on the outskirts of Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. The available power from the batteries can be set to different power modes, including the “Fanboost” feature, where drivers can be awarded a short burst in power by popular vote of fans through social media. In maximum power mode the Gen2 car delivers 335 bhp, up a whole 67 bhp from the Gen1.

The cars have a sleek rear end, with two massive venturi tunnels

To handle the power, teams use a variety of gearboxes, as this part of the drivetrain has been deregulated since the first season where all teams used similar transmissions. Most of the teams use a one-gear distribution, meaning that they spend less time changing gears. There are, however, a minority of teams which still race with both two and three speed gearboxes. There are also other deregulated factors in Gen2 Formula E, such as brake disc design and suspension layout. 

Antonio Felix da Costa (POR), BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.18

The series has balanced the wish to create rules that push electric vehicle technology and tailor regulations to ensure that the series is exciting. This has led to much discussion about tyres. Just like in Formula 1, tyres are a very important part of both team strategy and spectator excitement. With a softer tyre, the car has more grip, but the tyre wears out faster, so the driver needs to manage driving style accordingly. This season, the Gen2 cars will run on bespoke 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, which will be used in both wet and dry conditions.

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