MOTORSPORT

Formula E reveal all-electric Gen3 race car in Monaco

Formula E enters the next frontier but can it deliver the spark?

TopGear Reporter
May 6, 2022
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Formula E reveal all-electric Gen3 race car in Monaco

Aircraft and aerospace company Lockheed Martin’s secret division called “Skunkworks” birthed some of the most secretive aircraft the world has seen or not seen… The ground-breaking F-117 Night Hawk: A stealth fighter and revolutionary for its time as it remained undetected on enemy radar. Although a bit of a stretch to mention the next generation Formula E car in the same sentence as the Night Hawk, apart from some aesthetic similarities, the Gen3 is going to need to achieve similar feats if the series wishes to continue into the future.

After a shaky 12-month period for Formula E, with heavy-hitting manufacturers like BMW, Audi and Mercedes leaving the sport, the series needs to reinvent itself if it’s going to reposition itself for a brighter future. The gen3 car needs to cement that.

As the zero-emissions and EV debate steadily gathers momentum, Formula will need to lead the charge (more puns) to drive change and deliver the action it needs to not only deliver on its commitments to eco-friendly racing but also keep the motorsport pundits entertained. All indications hint toward Gen3 being the pinnacle of sustainable performance.

The sustainability approach

Just how are they going to do this? Well, firstly, the series boasts the fastest Formula E car to date with top speeds of 322 km/h and design changes to make for closer racing. Secondly, it claims to be the most efficient Formula car to date by generating 40% of its power through regenerative braking. Also, for the first time, the Gen3 model will have two powerplants with the rear unit producing 350 kW and the front 250 kW. 

If you’re average at basic arithmetic, that’s an internal organ rearranging 600 kW. The big kicker of the next-gen car will be that it will be the first car that will not have rear brakes. Yes, braking will be achieved through the regenerative process. A massive trust exercise in the tech of the car if you ask anyone and let’s just say that drivers and engineers will need to be on good terms…

Seven manufacturers have already lined up to sign up for the Gen 3. DS Automobiles, Jaguar, Mahindra Racing, Maserati, Nio 333, Nissan and Porsche and (Semi) privateer teams like ABT Sportsline return, signing for the Gen 3 car.

A big step forward is the benchmark in sustainability and an eco-conscious supply chain management with the tyres, batteries and body panels all being made of recyclable material. But don’t expect parts, teams and drivers to be shipped using old school sailing boats. Gretta, take note… Battery cells will be recycled at the end of their lifespan while recycled carbon fibre from Gen2 cars will be deployed. The tyres, made by Hankook ending the relationship with Michelin, will consist of 26% natural rubber and recycled fibres and be fully recycled at the end of their life. 

"If you’re average at basic arithmetic, that’s an internal organ rearranging 600 kW"

The irony of progress

Despite the virtue signalling around any bits of earth-caring PR speak, the news around the Gen3 release is a tipping point for the series since it needs to drum up support through manufacturers if they’re wanting to continue. Without greater representation from the big manufacturers, it seems a little ironic that a series that promotes sustainability now has its own sustainability put in question. 

Whether you’re a fan or not, the world needs diversification and technology. One needs to appreciate the challenges that the series faces in both providing the entertainment and balancing sustainable motorsport. That is noted. Formula E can drive that change in the EV game and with the latest car, it’s deserving of the chance to build up to something greater. See you in Cape Town!

Words: Brent Van Der Schyff

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