Episode 1: Batteries
One of the most important elements of the Formula E Championship is the race car battery. We explain why it is standardised for all teams and how this will change in future seasons. In season 5 the teams can use their own batteries, which will provide double the energy compared to those currently used in season 4. This means drivers will no longer have to use two cars per race, ultimately leading to better race times.
Learn more about the important composition of the batteries, how each team strategises to get the most out of the battery life, and how new discoveries within Formula E are revolutionising traditional attitudes towards electric vehicles.
Episode 2: Cooling Systems
Every Formula E team is faced with multiple challenges to overcome in order to succeed on the racetrack. One such obstacle is the fact that these single-seat racers have no built-in fans, forcing the teams to be inventive with how they cool the car’s battery after each session. Presenter Marc Priestley uses an innovative thermal camera to show how hot these cars actually get.
Getting the temperature just right is crucial as there’s a tight operating-temperature window. With regenerative braking only adding to the heat of the battery, the team’s strategy for cooling the race car has to be effective or the temperature will rise too high, likely marking an end to their race.
In the global market, this information is vital to electric vehicle manufacturers when developing vehicles that are safe for the roads.
Episode 3: Regenerative braking
Regenerative braking is an efficient way of recovering energy through the brakes of the car, but requires the driver and team to be very strategic in engineering this feature. The more regenerative braking a driver employs, the slower their lap time. Driving a Formula E race car requires a fine balance between braking and accelerating because the driver needs to conserve as much energy as possible early on in the race to conserve the car’s energy for when top speeds are most needed.
Episode 4: Wireless charging
Currently most road electric vehicles need to be plugged in to charge, but Formula E is witnessing the start of a wireless car charging revolution. The advantages of this technology could spread far and wide, meaning there could be entire sections of highway fitted with wireless charging devices which charge cars as they are being driven, or parking bays that wirelessly charge your car while you’re away. The BMW i8 Qualcomm safety car, which is used in Formula E, employs this pioneering technology. Presenter Marc Priestley explains how this works, finds out how safe this wireless system actually is, and discovers how easy it is to use.
Episode 5: Fuel
Formula E’s overriding concern is raising awareness of climate change by highlighting the benefits of sustainable mobility and inviting car manufacturers to use Formula E as a technological and sustainable development test bed. With such ambitious goals comes a huge responsibility. How does Formula E power such events when they require the use of so much energy?
The answer lies in a pair of very unique generators using a virtually zero-emission fuel, which is 100% renewable and powers all of the cars in the championship. This same groundbreaking technology, which is just now making its debut in Formula E, could be used in many different ways and go on to power other events all over the globe for many years to come.
Episode 6: Data and driver assist
In preparation for qualifying, Formula E drivers and engineers are heavily focused on the data they receive from both car and driver. Formula E race cars are made up of a vast network of sensors and a large variety of information is downloaded from the car’s electronic control unit after the practice sessions.
The driver’s feedback is just as vital as the information received from the car, and the engineers and driver have to work together to give the team the best chance at qualifying in a good position for the race. In broader terms, such data is at the heart of change, as it’s the same sensors at work in Formula E which are enabling the car industry to push ahead with autonomous driving.