Tuesday morning, the ABB Formula E series released a few renderings as indication of what the new car will look like. This chassis, dubbed the Spark SRT05E, will replace the current Spark-Renault SRT_01E following the end of the 2017/18 season, and will make its debut in-the-carbon at March’s Geneva Auto Show. The new car is a vast improvement over the current car in that it has the futuristic visual treatment to pair with its new-age motorsport electric drivetrain, it’s also faster, safer, and can traverse the full one-hour race without drivers needing to swap cars (one of the series’ biggest complaints at the moment). Porsche won’t be joining the series until the 2019/20 season, but this will be the spec chassis they’ll be required to use in the series.
In conjunction with the new car’s announcement came this short video indicating the car’s new look.
Perhaps somewhat controversially, the new car features enclosed wheels, more akin to a prototype than a traditional open-wheel racer. It could be argued, however, that Formula E is anything but traditional open-wheel racing. The driver’s cockpit will still be open to the elements, but Formula E have opted to adopt the same ‘Halo’ driver protection system as will be seen joining the Formula One grid this season. Both of these moves have been in an effort to improve safety, and by extension the on-track action in the upcoming season.
The current 28kWh batteries from Williams Advanced Engineering have been employed since the series began in 2014. Detractors of the series have stated a disdain for the battery tech, as drivers are currently required to swap over to a second car at the halfway point of the race, because those Williams batteries don’t have enough reserve to last the full one-hour race. With the SRT05E comes a new battery array from McLaren Technologies (54kWh) which will solve that problem, nearly doubling the capacity and significantly increasing power output.
When Porsche joins the series, they will be required to use this specified chassis and the McLaren battery stack, but essentially everything else has been opened for development from the motors and transmissions to the controller software and transformers.
Porsche is already getting onboard the Formula E hype train, as they’ve launched a new twitter account to cover the effort that doesn’t begin racing for at least 22 months. To get early access to all the information you need surrounding Porsche’s Formula E team, follow @PorscheFormelE on Twitter.