The FIA-approved Formula E electric car championship may be just one race into its inaugural season, but it has big plans to revolutionise the world of both motor sport and electric cars forever.
That’s the message from Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag, who has just announced his ambitious plans for the second season of the all-electric global race series, the 2015/16 Formula E championship.
Talking in an interview with the official Formula E website, Agag promised that while this year’s Formula E championship requires all ten teams to use the same Renault-designed SRT-01E single-seat electric race car, the 2015/16 season will allow teams to build their own electric motors and battery packs.
“In year two the teams will be able to build their own batteries and their own motors,” he said. “They could build their own whole car if they wanted. But the regulations are quite strict and they don’t allow a lot of development in aerodynamics.”
For now, the requirement that all ten teams use the same basic car has meant that the first Formula E race — held in Beijing, China earlier this month — was an incredibly tightly-run race with a high degree of attention on driver skill and team tactics than pure engineering prowess.
Allowing teams to develop their own battery packs and motors could not only help increase the competition between the teams in the pits to develop the best electric race car possible, but it would also pave the way for the Formula E race series to gain official world championship status under FIA rules.
At the moment, because the race series uses a homogenised car design, that’s not possible. In order to become an official world championship, more than four different manufacturers are required.
“We hope to attract manufacturers, meet the conditions, and hopefully the FIA will grant us wold championship status,” Agag said.
Aside from the accolade of becoming an official world championship however, allowing more than one manufacturer for the second season of the Formula E championship will also prove extremely beneficial to the wider automotive industry.
Like Formula One and other race series, Agag says he hopes that Formula E will become a proving ground for new vehicle technology, helping accelerate the development of new electric car motors, battery packs and controller circuitry. Just like KERS — now found in many production vehicles but originating in motor racing — future electric cars could use Formula E technology to help increase range, improve battery life or perhaps even help speed up vehicle charging.
For now, the current Formula E championship season is focusing on promoting electric car racing as an exciting new method of motor sport. And with the next race set for Putrajaya, Malaysia on November 22, there’s never a better time to brush up on what Formula E is all about before the race in just under two months’ time — or perhaps even watch highlights from the inaugural race online.
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