What's New In Formula E Season 3 Powertrain?
Posted on: 27 January, 2017
Formula E is the youngest motorsport today and one that's evolving the fastest. All eyes watching –be it in the stands or on TV, everyone's getting a peek into the future of electric cars. For some, it's the new sport of speed, this time with electric cars; to others, it gives front row seats to watch technology race against time.
Time & technology...
Sparks of change hit the Formula E street circuits each season. Our racecars go through a rugged makeover too. Real players plan for action way before cars hit the grid.
Time & tech wait for no one. Here’s a quick recap:
It is 2014. Ten founding teams start racing in Season 1. All 10 teams get the same spec chassis and spec powertrain. Here's the standard tech pack:
1. Chassis: Spark Racing Technology (via Dallara)
2. Motor & Inverter: McLaren Advanced Technologies (based on the firm's P1 supercar)
3. Five-speed gearbox: Hewland Engineering
4. Battery: Williams Advanced Engineering
a. Energy use set at 28 kWh
b. Peak permitted power in race mode: 150 kW
c. Peak permitted power in qualifying mode: 200 kW
How did you win a race in Season 1?
1. Custom Chassis set-up – Packaging the powertrain within the chassis affects its handling characteristics.
2. Energy conservation strategies, it's electric!
3. Driver power.
The year is 2015. Pit lane opens for the all-new Season 2 Formula E cars. All 10 teams to continue with the same Season 1 Chassis until Season 4. Here's the standard tech pack:
Custom for M2Electro in Season 2:
1. Powertrain designed with McLaren
2. Four-speed gearbox: Hewland Engineering
The new powertrain's got whaaaa?!
Chief Engineer Vinit Patel helps drive the team off-circuits. Our M3Electro powertrain is a revolutionary step over our own best – the Season 2 M2Electro.
Italian tech giant Magneti Marelli gets us our new six-phase powertrain motor and accompanied powertrain dual inverters- each inverter controlling three motor phases.
M3Electro's overall drivetrain mass has been decreased by 40% as compared to the M2Electro. We've got about 300 new components in the powertrain this season. Here's a snapshot:
• Magneti Marelli six phase MGU
• Transverse orientation
• Peak RPM increase of 14% (compared with M2Electro)
• Peak torque increase of 38% (compared with M2Electro)
• Two inverters, each controlling three motor phases
• F1-derived technology (SicMOSFET high-frequency switching architecture)
• Bespoke DC junction assembly
• Parallel closed systems for inverters and motor
• Bespoke ducting
• Bespoke radiator
• Supplied by Spark (via Williams Advanced Engineering)
• 28 kWh permitted energy use in each car during the race.
• 150 kW peak permitted regenerative power
• 170 kW peak permitted power (race mode)
• 200 kW peak permitted power (qualifying mode)
• Liquid cooled
While the permitted energy and power output is unchanged from Season 2, this season will see the cars use more regenerative braking. The rate at which energy can be recovered using via the real axle regen braking has been upped to 150 kW, massive jump from Season 2’s cap at 100 kW.
• Bespoke two-speed gearbox
• Pneumatically actuated barrel/fork shift
• Transverse layout
• Bespoke carbon fibre casing
• Bespoke lightweight, unequal length wishbones
• Low friction bearings
• Pushrod-actuated coilover dampers, with bespoke rockers and anti-roll bars
Software and driver controls
• Multiple software functionality and performance updates for new drivetrain
• Steering wheel has increased complexity and driver interface functions
• 880 kg with driver and ballast
Battery weighs less than season two due to refurbishment – now at about 320 kg, fitted inside a carbon fibre safety casing, changing the operating temperatures ever so slightly.
So that's the machine on a sheet, we can't wait to see a full season of it on the tracks!
Where can we improve? Vinit explains :
An electric powertrain is only good as its inputs. Good controls-software and great controls-strategies are vital to achieving the best performance from the hardware. Software development is becoming the 'holy grail' of Formula E.
This pursuit of engineering excellence, that's what we call #passioneering.
Article done in collaboration with Current E (http://current-e.com/)