Parse the concept of the most advanced world racing series. We wonder what the recent legalized technical inequality will ultimately lead to? When all the environmentally uncleфan racing series finished, the second season of the electric Formula E started. According to the new rules, from now on, all teams are free to design electric motors and gearboxes on their own. This way went eight out of ten teams. Ninth did not have time to introduce a new engine, the tenth left last year’s standard unit. That is, technical inequality is legalized – in contrast to the first season, where all the cars were identical.
What will lead such an innovation? This clearly showed Sebastien Buemi at stages in China, Malaysia and Uruguay. On account of the Swiss two pole positions, the three best laps in the race and two wins. He stands for the team Renault e.DAMS – the only factory at the moment. Next, it is logical to assume the separation of teams into rich and poor, factory and private, large and small – call it what you want. Technical inequality in any car race always leads to this result.
Innovation of electric car racing
The original concept was, if not brilliant, then very uncommon. Without inventing anything particularly new, inspire the public that this is not just “another formula championship” – but the cutting edge of world engineering, literally on the verge of technological breakthroughs! And besides, for the first time in history – silently, environmentally friendly, through the streets of big cities. “An impressive platform for exchanging ideas”, “a platform for innovation with high potential in the consumer market”, “our fuel is so clean that it can be drunk” – with such phrases the championship organizers lured hundreds of thousands of spectators to the stands. Although not only phrases: the composition of the participants, saturated with former Formula 1 pilots, is strong and attractive. Plus Leonardo DiCaprio is in the unexpected role of the leader of one of the teams. Actually, not in the movies!
In fact there is nothing innovative in the car is not. The chassis, built by Dallara, is pretty, but absolutely typical of medium-sized racing formulas. And the main design decisions in terms of batteries and power units were borrowed from serial cars and electric vehicles. This is probably the very exchange of ideas. The largest technological achievement is still the so-called FanBoost. From the description: “innovation system.” Its essence is that the fans hold a vote in social networks, the results of which determine which of the riders will receive the right to short-term activation of the mode of increased power which, of course, will give him an advantage over rivals. Not sports, but fun!
Formula E technology: first self-driving racing car: is this the future of racing?
Taking into account the continuous improvement of automotive technology, the organizers of the Formula E Championship announced in November last year their plans to arrange a full-fledged race dedicated to self-driving cars. This competition is called Roborace. A few months after this announcement, the representatives of Formula E demonstrated the first self-driving race car to take part in the Roborace race. Apparently, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) made every effort so that the designer Daniel Simon could create this stunning model based on the concept of the films “Tron: Legacy” and “Oblivion”.
Compact, low (and green) combat machine
The first unmanned racing car in history is a brilliant black and light green model, which is a great toy for adult boys and girls. Simon noted that his only goal in creating projects for Roborace was to develop a vehicle that would become self-managing and at the same time retain its beauty. Aerodynamic specialists and race car engineers worked with him from the very beginning of the project in order to achieve this balance, he said. Simon, who is the project design director, stressed that we are living in an era where the once separated world of artificial intelligence and self-driving cars will face an “irresistible force”.
According to him, the agenda was the creation of a magnificent world-famous and flawless image, as well as strong downforce without using the extra parts that would pile up the car. How did they do it? Simon said they used the floor as the main aerodynamic device. They actually made manually acting body parts that are more solid and systematic than the existing ones.
Future electric cars ride
Roborace CEO Denis Sverdlov said that Simon’s competence and passion is undeniable, and therefore this model will cause a stir throughout the world. Roborace, which Sverdlov called the “world championship in intelligence”, will be held during the Formula E 2016/2017 season. Despite the fact that other car makers, such as Ford and Toyota, are also developing their unmanned vehicles, it is still unknown whether they will participate in the competition. Moreover, advanced technologies are gradually becoming ubiquitous.
Initially, a five-year plan for the technical development of Formula E was presented as a guarantee for partners, so that they know what to expect. But now they have deviated from this plan – some points have been rejected, others have been added. Among the expected “innovations” is the “aerodynamic improvement” DRS system. By golly it is written that way! This is about the bar by which the pilot opens a “slot” in the rear wing (introduced many years ago in Formula 1 to simplify overtaking). But the promised wireless recharge batteries postponed indefinitely. By the way, this technology also exists, but it is extremely unprofitable for one-time actions in the form of races through the streets of cities, because it involves the laying of communications under a layer of asphalt.
To maintain the mysterious reputation of the technical parameters of the machines are presented in an indigestible form. Instead of the usual horsepower appear exclusively kilowatts. So, in the second season, it is allowed to squeeze 170 motors out of the motors, not 150 kW. And by the third season, a division of the Williams F1 team will build new batteries. However, contrary to the plan of the five-year plan, they decided not to raise their output power from the current 28 to 32 kW, and the maximum – from 200 to 250 kW.
How are the batteries arranged? Oh, this is still a secret. Just keep in mind that calling a battery a battery is not quite right. Because it is something much more complicated. Namely – rechargeable energy storage system (RESS). An important explanation: it supplies electricity through a power circuit to a traction motor. How is the engine? This is a motor-generator (MHU), which, when slowed down, converts the mechanical energy of a rotating shaft into electricity and sends it to the battery. The principle is quite banal, but all the same, only general descriptions of the units are available – now that everyone builds their own motors. Secrets of the Madrid court, no comment. Mercy, good people, motor-generators have long been equipped with serial hybrids!
This genuine technological breakthrough is planned for the season 2018/2019. Here is no cheating! By this date, designers expect to create a machine that will withstand all 45 minutes of the distance. And the pilots will finally stop in the middle of the race to change to the second car, standing ready with a charged battery. In an amicable way, such a transplant is simply ridiculous for races, which position themselves as advanced. Just need to think hard before deciding on such a great bargain. After all, you have to order tires that are guaranteed not to last 45 minutes, especially for a pit stop in the race.
War of people and cars
The commercial acumen of the creators of Formula E is openly noted by prominent Formula One experts. Bernie Ecclestone, however, is skeptical and considers the electric championship to be ridiculous. But let’s see what he will say when Formula E has a support race. She has already come up with a name – Roborace, and the debut is expected next season. This is the arrival of unmanned vehicles that will lead the fight with each other without the participation of people. I would venture to make a prediction: the first starts of the Robokars may turn out to be super cool and, by entertainment, surpass everything seen before. After all, machines will probably be strange at first – due to the imperfection of the control programs.
Critics of this project, and among them the head of the Mercedes Motorsport team Toto Wolf, speak correctly and do not use words like “insanity”. Their opinion boils down to the fact that at all times, starting from the ancient Olympics, the audience was attracted to the competitions of people. Wolf admits that technology is moving in the direction of autonomous machines, which will go on sale in the foreseeable future. In essence, drone rides can entertain someone. But the demonstration of technology is not a sport. Formula-E promoter Alejandro Agag evasively objects: this is supposedly a competition of a different kind “a unique platform for manufacturers.” Directly begs for decoding: this is a competition of competing racing series for the money of large investors. Is not it? And at the same time for the youth audience, who likes everything cool.