Audi develops e-tron FE05 for new era of Formula E

Electric Vehicles

On December 15, a new era in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will begin in Ad Diriyah (Saudi Arabia). Thanks to the electric cars’ greater range, the drivers will now compete with only one race car per event for the first time.

As a result, Audi has unveiled the newly developed Audi e-tron FE05 which Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi will use to bid for the titles. 

With the Audi e-tron FE05, Audi has prepared meticulously for the new technical and strategic challenges of using just one car per race. This is particularly true of the drivetrain, comprising the motor, inverter, gearbox, components of the rear suspension, as well as the corresponding software.

While the rest of the car is identical for all teams, manufacturers get the opportunity to showcase their technical expertise with the drivetrain. The motor generator unit, dubbed the Audi Schaeffler MGU03, was jointly developed by Audi and its technology partner Schaeffler.

Engineers put particular emphasis on making the package even more efficient and further increasing its level of effectiveness. “We retained the basic concept with one gear and at the same time refined the details and manufactured all of the parts,” says Tristan Summerscale, Formula E Project Leader at Audi. 95 percent of the drivetrain parts are new and the engineers were able to shave ten percent off the weight.

For the fifth season of Formula E, the motor is permitted to produce up to 250 kW (340 hp) in qualifying. In the race, the output is capped at 200 kW (272 hp). New rules include the so-called activation zones. When drivers pass through this zone on the racetrack, they can briefly access a higher power mode of 225 kW (306 hp). Formula E fans can still support their favourite driver by casting their vote online via “FanBoost”, which gives drivers a temporary power boost of up to 250 kW (340 hp).

All Formula E teams draw electricity from identical McLaren batteries weighing 374 kilograms. The lithium-ion battery is mounted between the driver’s seat and the powertrain. It has a capacity of 52 kWh and can be charged within 45 minutes. A completely new development for the fifth season is the “Brake-by-Wire” system. Brake control and transmission to the rear axle are decoupled from each other and electronically controlled. The brake balance is therefore always optimally distributed and recuperation becomes even more efficient. 

The minimum weight of a Formula E race car is 900 kilograms (including the driver) with the electric race car accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.1 seconds. Top speed is achieved at around 240 km/h. Of particular note: the new generation of the Audi e-tron FE05 comes without a rear wing – a rarity in motorsport. Instead, downforce is generated by a large diffuser at the rear of the race car.  

Thirteen races in 12 major cities are planned for the fifth season of the electric race series. Between the opening round in Ad Diriyah and the double-header finale in New York in mid-July 2019, races will be held in Marrakesh (Morocco), Mexico City (Mexico), Hong Kong (China), Rome (Italy), Paris (France), Monaco and Berlin (Germany). Each race is run over 45 minutes plus one lap, with most of the races held on temporary street circuits in city centres. 

Watch Allan McNish introducing the new Audi e-tron FE05: or on YouTube

Chris Price
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