The new Formula E season will start this weekend. The racing class for fully electric single-seater has been on the rise for a number of years, as witnessed by the arrival of new Mercedes-Benz and Porsche factory teams this year. What attracts the brands to this racing class?
Formula 1 has been the party of car brands Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Honda and McLaren for a number of years. Other names are only involved in marketing, for example Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin in 2019 and Lotus in the recent past.
In that respect, Formula E does better, especially in the new season that will start this weekend in Saudi Arabia. For example, not only Audi, BMW, DS, Jaguar and Nissan appear at the start, but now also Porsche and Mercedes.
The upcoming Formula E season is the first season in which Audi, BMW and Mercedes will compete against each other since the 2018 DTM season and the first racing class in which all four German car brands, including Porsche, meet. The brands fought during the 24 Hours of Le Mans in recent decades, but rarely at the same time.
In addition, Indian Mahindra is taking part in Formula E, while the Chinese start-up NIO has also linked its name to a team. Because the cars are equipped with McLaren batteries, you could add that name to it.
Aa Formula E not only do well-known brands participate, witness the participation of Mahindra and others. (Photo: Mahindra)
"Formula E experience can improve the reach and performance of street cars"
Since all teams with the same chassis and the same battery are on the road, you could see the participation of the above brands as a marketing stunt. Nevertheless, the manufacturers do indeed have technical freedom of movement, unlike, for example, Aston Martin at Red Bull Racing.
"We use our many years of experience with the development and production of the Nissan Leaf in the development of the racing cars," says Judith Stolwijk, communications manager at Nissan Netherlands.
"We then use the experiences gained by the team to develop even better production cars."
They also do the latter at Jaguar, which launched its first electric car with the popular I-Pace in the Netherlands last year.
"As an official Formula E construction team, Panasonic Jaguar Racing designs its own powertrain, including the engine, transmission, inverter and rear suspension. Experience with developing efficient and light electric powertrains can enhance the performance and range of future Jaguar Land Further improve Rover electric vehicles, "said Aldo van Troost, PR manager at Jaguar Land Rover.
The new Jaguar I-TYPE 4. (Photo: Jaguar Land Rover)
"DS 3 Crossback is a travel car thanks to Formula E"
Also at DS, the current champion with the constructors and drivers, a translation to street cars has been made, says PR manager Mark Heiligers. This mainly relates to the recovery of braking energy.
"There are two Formula E driver-adjustable systems for energy recovery: 'normal', to simulate the operation of an internal combustion engine, and 'brake', which achieves the maximum braking effect. about 20 to 25 percent of extra driving range are regenerated if, for example, people mainly drive in the city where the engine is frequently slowed down. "
According to Heiligers, the use of a heat pump cannot be viewed separately from the experience gained in Formula E. "This efficient method of keeping the battery at optimum temperature even in cold conditions comes from Formula E. An additional advantage is that you more often one after the other can charge quickly along the highways. That way one can really cover great distances. "
The DS FE E-tense 19, the racing car of DS for next season. (Photo: DS)
Good stage to promote electric Porsche '
The 'gain experience' factor also applies to one of the two newcomers this year: Porsche. The legendary sports car brand was already active in many racing classes, such as Formula 1, rally sport and Le Mans, but never in Formula E.
"Formula E is a very attractive racing series. It is extremely competitive and characterized by a high degree of freedom. It is the ideal setting to promote the performance, efficiency and sustainability of our cars. By 2025, more than half of all new Porsches a plug. The experiences we gain in Formula E are of enormous importance for the development of our electric street cars such as the Taycan and the next-generation Macan, "says PR manager Jasper Koek.
The sixth ePrix season will start this weekend in the Saudi capital Riyadh. The French DS driver Jean-Éric Vergne is the title defender for the drivers, his team DS Techeetha the title defender for the constructors. Last season produced nine different ePrix winners.
In addition to the Dutch Audi driver Robin Frijns, another countryman will appear at the start this season: Nyck de Vries. He will be active for the debuting Mercedes.
With his world title in Formula 2, Nyck de Vries earned a transfer to the Formula E team at Mercedes. (Photo: Getty Images)