The Ultimate Guide To All That's New in Season 3 of Formula E
Posted on: 20 January, 2017
Tech, tech, tech: we love it. We're just two seasons in for Formula E, but we're not standing still. For season three, we’re sporting a new powertrain, new technology, and a new driver. It's going to be one hell of a ride.
Our Chief Engineer, Vinit Patel takes us through the new developments. Let's get rollin’:
The M3Electro's powertrain is wildly, wildly different from our earlier efforts - it sports more than 300 new components! Although the permitted energy and power output levels remain the same as in season two, we’ve been chasing gains in efficiency.
Our podium victory in Hong Kong only confirmed what we had expected to see from private testing and Donington Park. There are incremental gains to be made throughout the season as we gather confidence in pushing the limits of our new powertrain further.
Testing was 50% about reliability, 30% about powertrain performance optimisation and 20% about chassis and driver.
Vinit Patel, Chief Engineer.
The race battery, revamped for season three, continues to be supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering. Teams are permitted to use 28kWh battery energy in each car during the race. Maximum power outputs are set at 170kW for race mode and 200kW for qualifying. The battery weighs around 320kg, complete with a carbon-fibre safety casing. "Operating temperatures are slightly different but everything is largely as it was in season two, including recharging procedures," Patel explains.
3. More Regen
The rate at which teams are allowed to capture energy through regenerative braking has skyrocketed from 100kW in season two to 150kW in season three. Because the hydraulic braking system is fixed, not dynamic like in other sports, the 100kW cap contributed to an inconsistent brake balance in season two. With 150kW now available, this should balance the car better.
The increased regen limit could actually make the cars easier to drive.
4. Steering Wheel
The new unit by XAP technologies sports six rear paddles, six rotary controls (even more options for control than season two!), 10 buttons, LED warning lights and a larger colour LCD dash display. What's not been seen before is a triangular cluster of three LEDs – these are the FIA warning light system, which light an LED to match the coloured flags that the trackside marshals wave.
5. Front Wing
The M3Electro has a futuristic-looking new front wing, connected to the sidepods. The new unit is around 3 kg heavier than the old one but makes the car look like a total stunner!
One big advantage is that it is a much stiffer component, so we should see less damage in close quarters wheel-to-wheel action.
6. New Tyres
You will also notice the M3Electro zipping on a brand new set of tyres. The new version of Michelin's 18-inch treaded all-weather tyres provide stronger grip levels for the drivers. What's more, these tyres are far more relevant to road cars and help to underline Formula E's direct links to mainstream automotive development.
But the most exciting change in season three, is our new driver - Felix Rosenqvist. Two races down and he's already made us proud. Having clocked up the fastest lap in the first race, and a podium in the second race, the Swede is off to a great start! We hope he'll keep the victories rolling in.
If you haven't caught the Formula E bug, yet, just wait till you feast your eyes on both Felix and Nick blazing city street tracks around the world in the M3Electro cars.
See you at the next race – the Buenos Aires ePrix – on 18 Feb ‘17.
Article done in collaboration with Current E (http://current-e.com/)