09 Sep 21

Formula E: Driving the EV revolution, race to road

On World EV Day, we're taking a look at how the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship and its stable of leading teams and manufacturers are driving electric mobility and innovation forward, as we chart the design and thought process behind some of the flagship electric vehicles on the market today and take a look at just how far Formula E's tech has come in seven seasons.

The ABB FIA Formula E Championship provides a test-bed - an Apollo program-like breeding ground - for the world's leading automotive manufacturers to develop their electric vehicle platforms to make them more intelligent and go further on every charge, through sporting competition of the highest level.

Formula E: Change. Accelerated.

From the inaugural 2014/15 campaign right through to Formula E's first season as an FIA World Championship in Season 7, Formula E's teams and drivers have been in a constant battle to outdo one-another on-track, feeding those learnings back into their offerings on the road, and driving the race for cleaner air, lower emissions and a more sustainable future forward at warp speed.

World EV Day: Race to Road

Race track to road

On the road, the number of electric car models has increased by six times since Formula E's first season, with more than 175 now available in Europe.

With the Gen2 car, and the continuing evolution of Formula E's on-track tech, range and battery capacity has also moved on leaps and bounds in consumer EVs.

Since 2015, for example, the 2020 Nissan Leaf - among the bestselling EVs of all time - has seen its battery capacity and range treble compared with the original model. In the same five-year spell, the number of EV chargers in Europe has increased more than three times over, with some 170,000 now built into infrastructure across the continent.

Formula E's tech leap from Gen1 to Gen2 and beyond

Season 1, back in 2014, ushered in a revolution with the all-electric open-wheel Gen1 car - a first of its kind in motorsport.

In the seven years since, the championship has waved goodbye to that initial era of mid-race car swaps and welcomed the next step-change in technology for Formula E with Gen2 in Season 5. More power and almost twice the usable energy capacity, effectively doubling range despite its battery being about the same size and weight as its predecessor.

READ MORE: Formula E's cutting-edge cars and technology

Raw pace and performance has kicked on a notch, too. Power output has jumped from 150kW to 200kW in race trim from that Season 1 tech, with ATTACK MODE yielding a further 10kW and qualifying mode boosting power to 250kW. This shaved 0.2 seconds off the 0-100km/h sprint, which now sits at 2.8 seconds, and pushing top speed up to 280km/h (174mph) from 225km/h (140mph) - all over the course of a 45 minute plus one lap race.

The Gen3 Formula E car will see another leap forward in terms of performance on-track, and not only that but it's going to be more sustainably-produced than ever before.

Formula E Gen3 sustainability

Manufacturers must propose a full Life Cycle Assessment for their proposed car, with challenges made on the use of sustainable materials, the lifespan of consumables, recycling and second life projects for used components and more.

Driving a technological revolution

Read how some of Formula E's teams and partners are driving electric mobility forward, taking what they've learned on the race track and applying it to the road; from the latest flagship EVs to charging infrastructure, as well as deep dive into the complete history of EVs.