The world’s premier electric car racing series has become an important R&D experience for electronics companies.
The 2019–20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship racing season is underway. The globe-spanning electric car racing series kicked off its sixth season with a double header in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, in November. The new Gen2 race car unveiled in the fifth season is in use again, but the technology inside has continued to evolve with the help of partners across the electronics industry.
Many connector suppliers and distributors, including Mouser, Molex, LEMO, AVX Corporation, TE Connectivity, Würth Elektronik, and TTI, Inc., have been active partners for Formula E. By developing technologies that serve the intense demands of these performance vehicles, the companies hope to refine a body of knowledge and array of components that ultimately will find common adoption in consumer and street vehicles.
“In our role as an enabler and a reliable partner for the industry, it’s important for us not only to foster the concept of e-mobility with our components, but also to continue to drive it forward innovatively,” said Alexander Gerfer, CTO of the Würth Elektronik eiSos Group. “The Formula E circuit gives us this opportunity, enabling us to put our components through their paces under extreme conditions — and of course it also benefits our customers, who ultimately draw the greatest profit from our efforts here.”
Mouser is sponsoring the GEOX DRAGON Formula E team in collaboration with TTI, Inc., Molex, and AVX. This is the sixth-straight year that Mouser and Molex have sponsored Formula E racing. “With the introduction of the Gen2 cars last season, Formula E really raised the bar on electric motorsports sustainability and performance,” said Todd McAtee, vice president of Americas Business Development for Mouser Electronics. “We are very excited to team up with Molex and TTI, along with AVX, to sponsor GEOX DRAGON and to promote these innovative technologies.”
“AVX advanced technology is an attractive fit in Formula E designs, as well as all autos, since next-generation automobiles have more safety, efficiency, performance, and autonomous features added,” said Ron Demcko, Fellow, AVX Corporation. “Our sensors can help with the monitoring of vehicle stability and speed, in addition to internal system conditions such as temperature, pressure, and position. AVX power devices can be used in battery charge, power conversion, and control, while small signal components are used for EMI control, CAN bus interface protection, and crash avoidance. Self-healing capacitors are used in high priority data, including autonomous control, video links, and safety applications. Communication links are ideal applications for AVX antennas and RF components.”
The Gen2 cars showcase the latest electric vehicle racing technology and can reach a maximum power of 250kW and speeds up to 280km/h. This season also marks a first: The “Big Four” German automakers — Mercedes, BMW, Audi, and Porsche — will compete against each other for the first time in auto racing history.
The Formula E racing series will continue through July 2020 with a schedule that includes Mexico City, China, Marrakesh, Rome, Paris, Berlin, Seoul, London, New York City, and Jakarta. The Jakarta race is at risk of cancellation due to one of the worst floods in the Indonesia’s history. Jakarta is one of the world’s fastest-sinking cities and rising sea levels have compelled the country to begin plans to relocate the capital to Borneo.
Formula E’s CEO Jamie Reigle says the racing series will help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, which is an important step in reducing carbon emissions.