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All Formula E teams use a standard chassis. For season 5, 2018/19, Spark Racing Technology developed a completely new racing car specially adapted to the requirements of the electric racing series. The Gen2 car has a futuristic design which is unique in the world of motorsport and is much admired. A large rear-mounted diffuser provides downforce instead of the rear wing usually found on formula racing cars. Fans and the media have christened the Gen2 car the ‘Batmobile’ because of its amazing appearance.
In view of Formula E’s ideas about sustainability, all teams use 18-inch, all-weather tyres from an exclusive supplier, Michelin, in both dry and wet conditions. Each driver has a maximum of four front and rear tyres per event at his disposal, so two sets of rubber must last right through from shakedown to the end of the race.
The McLaren battery supplied as standard is at the heart of every Formula E racing car. Located between the driver’s seat and the powertrain, it weighs 374 kg, giving a minimum vehicle weight of 900 kg. The maximum power that can be delivered to the motor is limited to 54 kWh and is monitored by the FIA. Battery charging takes about 45 minutes.
The Formula E car’s powertrain consists of inverter, motor, transmission, rear axle components and energy management software. Unlike the rest of the vehicle, teams are free to develop these parts as they see fit. The Gen2 car produces its maximum power of 250 kW in qualifying mode and when using FanBoost. In the race itself, power is limited by the regulations to 200 kW. The racing car can accelerate from 0–100 km/h in about 2.8 seconds and reach a top speed of around 280 km/h.
Gen2 cars use a brake-by-wire system, similar to Formula One, in order to improve the efficiency of battery recuperation. The operation of the brake pedal is decoupled from the transmission of power to the rear axle and regulated by an electronic control unit (ECU) which measures how much force the driver is exerting on the brakes and the amount of braking effect available from recuperation. The entire braking system is supplied by Brembo and includes bespoke carbon discs and pads, machined monobloc aluminium calipers, bells & tandem master cylinder. The carbon discs measure 278 mm on the front axle and 263 mm at the rear.
The Gen2 racing car affords the driver the maximum degree of safety possible. Additional protection for the driver’s head is provided by the halo system, with which we are all familiar from other FIA formula racing series. A special feature in Formula E is the LED lighting integrated into the halo. The halo lights glow blue for Attack Mode and purple for FanBoost.