Hero to Zero: the reality of battery management in Formula E

Managing your source of power in motorsport is vital. It can make or break a driver’s race weekend. Guaranteed, the actual act of running out of fuel during a race is something that has not happened in Formula 1 for many years, but in a sport like battery-centred Formula E, managing the power source until the end of the race is still a learning curve for some of the championship’s brightest talents.

With a new generation of Formula E just months away, pre-season testing for season five getting underway in October, the innovative second gen car will incorporate a battery that will last the entire race distance. For the first four seasons of the all-electric championship the cars had a capacity to last half of the race distance, resulting in a tense and often highly-strategic mid-race car swap. The new battery, developed by McLaren Applied Technology, will see the top power output increase to 250 Kw/h (335bhp) and an additional 50 Kw/h available to drivers during qualifying sessions.

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Everything we know about the Gen2 Car

As soon as the FIA ABB Formula E Championship was given the green light, the series knew it would have to be at the forefront of technology both in general and in their race cars. It was ‘driving the future’ as the series tagline stated and although the current race cars look fun, fast and futuristic, they are still very much a generic single-seater with a battery added in at a later date. However a new generation of Formula E car is on its way and it is here to change the game.

The slick, innovative and modern design of the second generation Formula E car, known as the ‘Gen2’, was finally revealed to the world at the end of January this year through a series of digital images and a video. The launch was a huge success with many praising the slick and Batmobile-esque design, however it was confirmed the official launch of the car would be held on Tuesday 6th March at the Geneva International Motor Show.

Despite having to wait on more key statistical information about the new Gen2 car, there is plenty that can be learnt from these digital images and previous news stories about the car that will come into effect from next season.

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Madness in Mexico: why the 2017 ePrix will forever be one of the best Formula E races

Whether you are a fan of the all-electric Formula E Championship or not, there can be no denying that the 2017 Mexico ePrix was one of the craziest races of the past year, or even this side of the decade. The race had almost everything – as much as I despise the cliché: mechanical failure snatching any chances of a win from the pole sitter, spectacular spins and saves, team mates taking one another out just laps before the chequered flag and even an appearance from Paris Hilton.

However the strategy and energy-management from Lucas di Grassi and his then team, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, meant the Brazilian optimised the totally bonkers race and finished with victory – having started near the back of the grid and being forced to pit for a rear wing change just a few laps in.

As we prepare for Formula E’s third consecutive return to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, I take a look back at the 2016/17 Mexico ePrix and why it could be Formula E’s best ever race.

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