Formula E unveils lighter and more powerful Gen3 racer

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The Yacht Club de Monaco was the location for Formula E’s big reveal of its Gen3 racer, set to make its race debut at the end of 2022. Touted as the most efficient formula-type race car built to date, Gen3 will feature a number of innovations, the most significant of which is energy recuperation from the front, as well as rear axle. Coupled with a newly developed battery system from Williams Advanced Engineering which uses pouch cells supplied by Total Saft, the overall system – when combined with manufacturers’ powertrains – will be able to recover 600kW under breaking, double the 300kW of the current cars.

The 250kW front motor generator unit (MGU), a spec part supplied by Lucid Motors’ technology arm Atevia, will be used solely for regeneration next season, though plans are afoot to see it harnessed as a drive unit in future. Development of the rear powertrain, consisting of motor, transmission and control electronics, remains open to manufacturers, with its maximum output raised to 350kW. Notably, the incorporation of front regen has seen the axing of rear friction brakes from the car (fronts brakes are retained).

Despite the increased potency of the powertrain, the car is both smaller and lighter than Gen2, weighing in at 760kg and sporting a shorter wheelbase and narrower track. Notably, the increased reliance on energy recovery has allowed for a significant reduction in battery capacity with a knock-on cut in weight, helping offset the extra mass of the front MGU installation.

Though the sporting format for 2023 is still to be confirmed, it has been suggested that races will return to incorporating pitstops, though not to swap cars as was the case in the past but to undertake a fast charge. The rate the cars would charge at is unknown, but series partner and main sponsor ABB already has heavy-duty commercial offerings capable of 600kW+.

Teams are due to receive chassis in the coming months, with testing set to commence later this summer.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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