Formula E world champion reveals how race cars accelerate EV tech

Formula E world champion reveals how race cars accelerate EV tech post thumbnail image

António Félix da Costa is an especially quick employee. The motorsports star has barely caught his breath since rushing at 250 km/h per hour into sixth place at a race in Sao Paulo, however he’s already again behind one other wheel on one other continent. 

The situation of his newest journey is the carmaking hub of Stuttgart, Germany, the house of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. However you’ll by no means see these wheels spinning away — as a result of they’re completely parked.

A stationary cockpit encased by screens, the machine replicates driving da Costa’s Porsche race automobile. That gives essential testing for the actual factor.

“As soon as we bought to the racetrack in Sao Paulo, the beginning setup and settings had already been outlined right here within the simulator,” da Costa tells TNW. “That’s how shut we imagine that simulator is to the actual automobile.”

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It’s one in all many applied sciences reworking Method E — the electrical cousin of the petrol-powered Method 1. At TNW Conference on June 14, da Costa will share the secrets and techniques of the game’s digital transformation. Forward of the discuss, he gave us a glimpse into the progress.

Da Casta has steered this headway from the beginning. In 2013, the younger Portuguese was on a path to debut in Method 1, till his staff made a controversial decision to make use of one other driver. However when that automobile door closed, one other one opened.

Method E was about to launch the first-ever sport with a net-zero certification. And one of many groups needed to make da Costa their star driver.

The rise of Method E

Again then, the vehicles had been doubtful points of interest. Two of them had been wanted to finish a single race. In addition they provided only a fraction of the ability offered in Method 1.

“I believed I used to be going to be racing with 1,000 horsepower,” da Costa recollects. “Then I discover myself racing one thing with lower than 200 horsepower — and we have to swap vehicles in the course of the race to finish the race as a result of the batteries don’t have sufficient vary.”

Regardless of the teething issues, da Costa recognised the potential. Electrical autos (EVs) had been shifting into the mainstream and Method E had an opportunity to speed up their progress.

“I must hold fascinated by the automobile’s mind.

Da Costa rolled the cube and was quickly cashing in. The 32-year-old went on to win a world championship in 2020 and drive in each season of the game. That’s given him distinctive experiences with the tech reworking EVs.

Below the hood

At this time’s Method E groups use just one automobile, which has 4 instances the ability of the unique racers. In a interval of slowing improvement in Method 1, the progress of electrical racing has solely accelerated. 

The fixed seek for additional pace typically results in software. Drivers repeatedly get digital upgrades to each facet of their vehicles, from the gears and radio to the ability and torque. 

With potential positive factors at each flip, the staff welcomes experimentation. When new concepts emerge, they’re rapidly examined within the simulator.

“Even the crazier concepts can find yourself within the racecar the day after,” da Costa says.

Black and white photo of Formula E driver António Félix da Costa, who's spearheading the development of electric vehicles (EVs)
Da Costa is the vanguard of the EV revolution. Credit score: Porsche
Black and white photo of Formula E driver António Félix da Costa, who's spearheading the development of electric vehicles (EVs)

One large likelihood to hurry up comes from slowing down. On every monitor, the software program can outline every nook individually and coordinate the entrance and rear brakes accordingly.

However not one of the settings are in stone. If the monitor heats up, the tyres degrade, or rain falls on the asphalt, the software program adapts the automobile’s steadiness to the evolving circumstances.

“Even once I’m contained in the automobile racing at 300 kilometres per hour with different drivers, I must hold fascinated by the software program and the way can I take advantage of the automobile’s mind to assist me go sooner on the lap as I’m racing,” da Costa says.

From Method E to the street

Method E isn’t solely about successful races. Automobile makers additionally use the tracks to develop tech for the roads. French marque DS Cars in contrast the game to an “open-air laboratory.” 

This distinctive testbed has additionally attracted the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, and Nissan.

“Manufacturers from all 4 corners of the world have been racing Method E,” da Costa says. “And once you compete, you’re compelled to evolve at a a lot steeper studying curve.”

These evolutions incessantly emerge in industrial EVs. Jaguar, as an example, tailored racecar effectivity software program to extend the vary of its I-Tempo SUV by 10%. Nissan, in the meantime, used on-track evaluation to triple the battery capability of the all-electric Leaf.

“It’s essentially the most environment friendly automobile on the planet.

The most recent Method E vehicles promise new ranges of effectivity. Over 40% of the power they use throughout a race comes from regenerative braking. 

“So each time we brake we’re placing power again into the automobile,” says da Costa.

The brand new fashions additionally add a fast charging capability of 600kW — virtually double the ability of the world’s most superior industrial chargers on the planet. It’s additionally the quickest Method E automobile but, with essentially the most sustainable batteries. All these upgrades might filter by way of to shopper EVs.

Accelerating the electrical transition

On the monitor, EVs are delivering actual pleasure. With 4 winners within the first 4 races of this season, the sequence is proving extra aggressive than Method 1. It’s additionally delivering extra motion: final yr’s Monaco e-Prix had 116 overtakes, whereas the Monaco GP had solely 22. 

Nonetheless, they’ll’t catch Method 1 vehicles for pace. However they’re miles forward by one measure. 

“Our race automobile is essentially the most environment friendly automobile on the planet,” da Costa says. He provides that his ardour for Method 1 stays undimmed, however he’s optimistic in regards to the electrical momentum.

“I imagine somebody born in the present day won’t ever know what a petroleum engine is wish to drive,” he says. “So this transition will occur in a really pure manner.”

One of many themes of this yr’s TNW Convention is Sustainable Futures. If you wish to dive into the ethics, range, sustainability, and social impacts of tech — or just expertise the occasion (and say hello to our editorial staff) — we’ve bought one thing particular for our loyal readers. Use the code TNWXMEDIA at checkout to get 30% off your business pass, investor pass or startup packages (Bootstrap & Scaleup).


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