Racing

Brooklyn Electric Car Races Add Showroom Stock Cars

The Formula E electric powered car race in Brooklyn this weekend may be the slickest sporting occasion within the Big Apple this 12 months. It’s a study in the future of vehicle racing. It’s at the waterfront of the town’s hippest borough, with the Statue of Liberty and Wall Street within the history. Formula E has plenty of the sophistication of Formula 1 however, without the throbbing noise of unmuffled engines and the crowded races that draw in 5 to ten instances as many human beings.

With the improvement in battery technology, Formula E now runs as a nonstop race without the need to trade automobiles halfway thru. And the Saturday and Sunday races are preceded each day via a sedan race (pinnacle photograph) the usage of nearly equal Jaguar i-Pace electric powered cars — little changed from what Jaguar sellers sell to the general public.

What Is Formula E?

Parts of the arena are concerned approximately climate change, emissions and air first-rate, yadda-yadda. So FIA, the governing frame of motorsports, wants to get in advance of the weather curve and promote a form of motorsport that appears in the direction of a cleanser shape of racing inside the varieties of vehicles we’ll be — probably — driving in the near future. That means electric powered vehicles. Formula E, E for electric, shaped five years in the past under the umbrella of FIA, the governing frame for tons of motorsport.

Note: Do not confuse FIA, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, which governs international motorsport, with FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the governing frame of world futbol/football. The difference? One is seen as a group of vintage men, autocratic policies, and loads of money changing fingers while the other … uh, never mind. To their credit, FIFA doesn’t have vuvuzelas any greater and FIA never did.

To the untrained eye, Formula E automobiles appear to be open-wheel, combustion-engine Formula 1 race automobiles — or, for that depends, the Indycar racers that in the main run inside the US. They run on the strength of lithium-ion battery packs. There was one set of regulations for seasons 1-four and some other for the modern season five, which concludes this weekend inside the US. Some parts of the auto are certain to shop expenses, which include the kevlar-and-carbon-fiber frame, OZ wheels, Michelin tires, the motor, and the McClaren Applied Technologies battery. The power inverter spec is open and so is the race strategy.

Reports have the contemporary cars costing about $900,000 to construct (€800,000) as opposed to about $445,000 (€four hundred,000) for the primary-technology. The present-day vehicles develop 335 hp and weigh 900 kg or an Orwellian 1,984 kilos. But there’s no energy guidance and the drivers’ palms get an exercising. They reach 60 mph or a hundred kph in about 2.Eight seconds, approximately the same as a Formula 1 racer. However, the pinnacle speed is manner different, about 175 mph (velocity ruled) as opposed to 235 mph.

No More Changing Horses in Midstream

The largest exchange for season 5 is the larger battery that lets in motors to head the whole distance of the race. Batteries were 28 kilowatt-hours (kWh), but now for 2018-19 are fifty-four kWh. The races had been eighty-one hundred kilometres or 50-60 miles, or 33-46 laps were relying at the circuit length. Now there is a fixed race time of 45 minutes plus one lap. (Which is more or less what the previous races took.)

At more or less the midway factor, drivers used to pull into their teams’ paddock location tents, unbuckle, and step into identical 2d cars. Except for lovers sitting in certain regions of the grandstands (photograph above), there has been a half-minute in which the auto changed into gone from view. For a maximum of the primary years, there additionally had been a mandatory time-in-pits rule of approximately 30 seconds (depending on the song), so drivers didn’t skimp on nicely fastening their safety harnesses. Needing two automobiles right for best 25 mins of racing changed into not exact PR for electric-powered vehicles, and that has changed for this contemporary season.

How lots are 28 kWh and fifty-four kWh? The authentic Nissan Leaf had a 24 kWh battery true for about eighty-four miles. Now the Leaf batteries are 40-62 kWh, rated at one hundred fifty-226 miles. The Tesla Model 3 has three batteries: 50 kWh (220 miles rated range), sixty-two kWh (240 miles), or 75 kWh (264 miles). The longest-variety Tesla Model S, the 100D, has a 100 kWh battery and, with battery and software improvements, has raised its EPA variety from 335 to 370 miles. The road model of the Jaguar I-Pace has a 90-kWh battery and an EPA range of 234 miles. So even the more recent Formula E battery isn’t that huge as compared with longer variety manufacturing motors.

Much of the battery era derives from the smaller energy recovery structures in Formula 1 motors that upload a further a hundred and sixty hp or 120 kW to the 1.5-litre V6 F1 engine’s seven-hundred hp. (F1 vehicles virtually seize strength from the deceleration and from exhaust fuel warmness.) For greater than a decade, Formula 1 has used sorts of hybrid energy.

Drivers say Formula E vehicles are less complicated to drive in many approaches than Formula 1 cars. But less complicated still isn’t smooth. The motive force constantly runs calculations in his or her head about battery consumption and when to rate in advance versus maintain again. The motive force is subsidized up with the aid of a few dozen humans inside the paddock tracking race telemetry. The motive force receives some, but now not all, of the to be had facts. Interestingly, the music signage tells enthusiasts — but no longer the drivers — how much energy is left. The goal is to finish with a minimal amount of power left in the batteries.

As to whether or not you should care: The research into battery technology and electricity recuperation has direct programs for passenger motors; EVs in particular, however also hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Racing is a mainly critical manner to test thermal control of batteries and charging.

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