How has Formula E Battery Technology Changed Since Season 1?

Learn about the development of Formula E’s battery solutions… 

As a key component of the powertrain, the battery sits at the centre of a Formula E car, and as a way of storing and releasing energy, it acts as an electric vehicle’s fuel tank.

To work, the battery passes electricity through the inverter and into the motor to make the wheels rotate and ultimately, make a Formula E car move.

In the space of only seven seasons, however, battery technology in the world’s premier all-electric racing series has advanced greatly.

During Seasons 1-4, Williams Advanced Engineering supplied Formula E’s first-ever battery solutions and this technology featured 28kWh of usable energy.

While revolutionary, limited energy density meant that first-generation Formula E cars were unable to complete a full race distance using only one charge.

This meant that pit stops were vital, and at the half-way point of every race, drivers would peel into the pit lane and jump into an entirely different vehicle to complete the remaining laps.

A new battery supplier in McLaren Applied Technologies changed everything in Season 5, however, and improved technology enabled drivers to complete a full race distance using only one car.

Featuring 54kWh of usable energy, the championship’s current Gen2 battery solutions have double the lifespan of its first-generation while only weighing 385kg.

The Gen2 car, meanwhile, has a maximum power output of 250kW in qualifying and 235kW in the race when Attack Mode is activated, producing top speeds of 280km/h.

Despite the improved range of Formula E’s current battery, energy conservation is still vital and this is where careful management comes into play.

Throughout every E-Prix, drivers lift and coast to conserve power, but regenerative braking allows wasted energy to be harvested and forced back into the battery.

This process extends the overall range of a Formula E car, but in Season 9, we will again see another major step-up in car performance.

With Williams Advanced Engineering supplying future battery technology, cars will have an increased maximum power output to 350kW alongside fast-charging capabilities. 

In short, Gen3 is set to be Formula E’s fastest format to date, and one not to be missed.