Formula E

Please discuss here all your remarks and pose your questions about all racing series, except Formula One. Both technical and other questions about GP2, Touring cars, IRL, LMS, ...
beelsebob
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Re: Formula E

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amc wrote:Electric racing using batteries will never work:

For the purposes of this excercise I will make a few assumptions - nothing is wholly accurate. Let's say we want the cars to be the same speed as F1, and that (to a large extent) means having the same power output.
False assumption, electric cars would likely be less draggy due to having no rules on bodywork under the car (and hence would be able to generate downforce through skirts etc), they could believably be lighter due to not having to worry about transmission, though the battery may offset that. Also, electric motor's torque curves are such that they could accelerate massively faster, and hence would not need such high top speeds to out-do an F1 car.
An F1 engine's average power output over time is, let's say, 500BHP, or 375kW. It varies according to RPM and that's conservative. For the car to last a third of a one-hour race (quite a short stint) at 375kW requires 450,000kJ, or 450MJ of energy. The best lithium ion batteries available at the moment will give about 2.5MJ per litre capacity, so in order for an electric car to run at the speed of an F1 car for a reasonable amount of time, the batteries will occupy 180 litres of space inside the car. And that's going to weigh something in the region of 500-600kg.
But you're forgetting pit stops, and the possibility of switching out battery packs, this would reduce the necessary weight (even assuming your power requirements are correct, which they probably aren't) to ~166-200kg. When you consider that an F1 car weighs 640kg including the transmission and in fact KERS & associated battery pack, that sounds much much more plausible to fit into sane weight limits.
There is no way an electric car will ever be as fast as a petrol one, that is, until someone fits a hydrogen cell.
Except electric cars are already setting very very competitive laps around the nurburgring... Sure, these particular ones can't keep going lap after lap, but that's already ~5 laps of F1 track (and more given warm up and warm down laps)... That's pretty damn close already!

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Websta
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Re: Formula E

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Cam wrote: This is where the current F1 regs fail, IMO. We'll never see this technology in an F1 car and that's a great shame as F1 is a development series and perfect for a team to test this out and win on merit. Electric or Hydrogen or some other system - is the future. Our kids kids will not see petrol or diesel race cars. At $1.50 per ltr right now - I can't even afford petrol, and it's not dropping in price any time soon.
I agree - although it arguably may not be good for the sport, it would be great for our society if they allowed teams to develop and use hydrogen-powered drive trains. But many car manufacturers are already investing a lot of money into hydrogen power, do you think F1 would prove more fruitful?

f1316
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Re: Formula E

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raymondu999 wrote:What actually excites me about this series is that electric motors as such should, theoretically, offer a bloody drivable torque/power curve. Save for slight aberrations, and/or transmission losses, would it not (theoretically speaking, in laboratory conditions) have a flat torque curve from start to finish?
This is exactly what I've always thought about electric cars. In this sense there is an advantage to them in that maxmium torque is available at zero speed.

What all of this requires is much greater and swifter development - the quoted 220kph is not enough to get people excited, in my opinion. But that's what I see as the beauty of the formula, particular since the regulations are fairly open. I like that there's the option to use the Formulec car or build your own, and it makes sense that the teams are allowed to reduce the drag created by the wheels in order to increase efficiency.

But it needs support from people with real resources - only with that will it becoming an exciting form of motorsport. James Allen about Toyota and Honda being interested, and there was a comment on his blog where someone suggested that part of being the top four in F1 (and therefore getting the top purses) would require you to reinvest some of that money in Formula E, with very open regs to incourage creative solutions. There's benefit to this to manufacturers like Ferrari and Merc, so it seems strangely plausible.

On the battery front, this quote from James Allen's blog (http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/08/f ... otorsport/) seems like a great idea:
Will battery powered cars be the future of electric motorsport? I put that question recently to Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the UK government, now engaged in work on the future of mobility and transport. He pointed to an experiment in Korea, which he thinks will provide the future model for motorsport.

“The weight of the batteries required to do 15 laps is too much,” he said. “So I think the online vehicle technology, which is a very exciting new technology, only recently developed, for me is the most likely.

“In Seoul, under the tarmac of the road an inch down a primary coil is installed. In your car is a secondary coil. There’s no electricity coming from the primary until your car is over it, so it’s very little energy loss; 93% energy transferred to the secondary coil. And the car is driven on that energy. You have a small, low weight battery in the car and that battery is always fully charged until you drive off the track. Then you use the charge left in the battery.

“I know that sounds like Scalextric. But I think the future of F1 is going to take up these amazing new technologies. ”

It’s a fascinating theory and one we will watch out for. Meanwhile Formula E will start a process of shifting the perception of the way men (and women) race cars and we will see where it leads us.

Tommy Cookers
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Re: Formula E

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raymondu999 wrote:What actually excites me about this series is that electric motors as such should, theoretically, offer a bloody drivable torque/power curve. Save for slight aberrations, and/or transmission losses, would it not (theoretically speaking, in laboratory conditions) have a flat torque curve from start to finish?
yes, but at the a big cost one way or another

do you mean a flat torque curve or a flat power curve ?
a flat torque curve gives a poor lap time return on the energy expended ?
a flat power curve (torque falling as speed rises) seems more likely

the motor should/would always be controlled to avoid the behaviour suggested
(there's a lot of possibilities in control and design, which are anyway related)
depending on how primitive your motor and drive are, there's a lot to be said for some mechanical ratio changing (like cycling)

BTW .... to anybody out there
..... isn't there enough fossil fuel for the next 500+ years (eg oil in tar sands) ?(or 20000 years including methane clathrates ?)
..... isn't electricity mostly produced using fossil fuels at an average efficiency to end use of 40% ?
..... (this won't change, and we shouldn't have any electric vehicles until it has changed)
..... with Sir David King you throw away 7% by not putting a plug into a socket ?
..... the electric car got fired 100 years ago, and batteries are nbg, even after 150 years of progress
..... hydrogen oxidation can/will produce some nasty stuff, not just water

people have never mistrusted politicians/governments more, but we believe everything eco-related that they say ?
(they never say we need less of everything, but they always have a big gizmo to buy with our money)

DaveKillens
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Re: Formula E

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flynfrog wrote:
DaveKillens wrote:snip...

Times are changing, and whether or not we like it, this kind of stuff is the future.

Not really how fast was the second lap?

The same car with a petrol engine can do those lap times all day. I would say electric still has a long way to go.
I agree, electrics and batteries still have the huge handicap that they store nowhere as much energy as a petrol engine. But that's for today, 2012. Just like the first aircraft, it has a lot of room for improvement and development. But whatever they learn and develop on the race track can be directly applied to road cars, and I suspect that's why such giants as Toyota and Honda are getting into the electric racer game.

We don't need to confine our thinking just to batteries, the big picture is about zero emissions and renewable energy sources. When you start to allow those technologies on the track, such things as fuel cells providing power would extend the range. I can easily imagine fuel cells mixed in with super capacitors (or batteries) and KERS to make this a very interesting challenge.
Racing should be decided on the track, not the court room.

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hollus
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Re: Formula E

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I wonder if there might be any car racing series out there where speed stay around 200Km/h and pit stops take 30 seconds? I guess not, nobody would watch it ;-)

Long way to go, but it's coming.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkeE9MCcVk8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqWNFqpVzwQ
http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/e-power/
http://www.egrandprix.com/
Tommy Cookers wrote: BTW .... to anybody out there
..... isn't there enough fossil fuel for the next 500+ years (eg oil in tar sands) ?(or 20000 years including methane clathrates ?)
Yes and no... ignoring the possible effects on the atmosphere, the cost of extracting it get bigger and bigger. If you are going to claim future technology for extracting fossil fuelcheaply and cleanly, I'll claim future technology to produce electricity even cheaper.

..... isn't electricity mostly produced using fossil fuels at an average efficiency to end use of 40% ?
Yes... for cost reasons. Electricity from hydro, solar and wind is slowly approaching the break-even point.

..... (this won't change, and we shouldn't have any electric vehicles until it has changed)
Wait until the oil barrel hits 150$ and see...

..... with Sir David King you throw away 7% by not putting a plug into a socket ?
Trolling, right?

..... the electric car got fired 100 years ago, and batteries are nbg, even after 150 years of progress
And now, battery technology is catching up.

..... hydrogen oxidation can/will produce some nasty stuff, not just water
And oil doesn't? The reaction is clean, any nasty stuff would come from the cells themselves. The best ones out there use toxic materials, but this needs not be (at the cost of a bit of efficiency) and recycling is easy enough.
I would like to see a paleontologist.

Tommy Cookers
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Re: Formula E

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since you're calling me a Troll,
can I say that you seem to have confirmed my point (that government positions on eco stuff are too readily believed when trust overall is at an alltime low) ?
official scienfific advice eg policy matters has a poor record, especially when it presumes upon technological and engineering areas
scientists have lied about cold fusion and gene therapy
why do we think that politicians are in effect good designers of cars or energy systems when they are seen as usually incompetent or worse ?

my post was in large part related to matters of electrical engineering related to the immediate subject of the thread

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strad
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Re: Formula E

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FIA approves Formula E series to take place in the near future – Formula 1 news

FIA approves Formula E and with the agreement to licence the commercial rights of the FIA Formula E championship to a consortium of international investors.

The idea of having an alternative to Formula 1 a more efficient and environment friendly version of the sport came after the world was hit by the economic downturn.

FIA Jean Todt has signed a deal with Addax GP2 and GP3 team owner Alejandro Agag. The deal also includes some other Hong Kong based investors.

It will be a single-seater series based mainly on the lines of Formula 1 with different car specs obviously the cars will be running on lithium batteries and electric energy. The cars will reach speeds of 220 km/h. The drivers will have to switch cars during mid-race pit-stops because the batteries will run out after 25 minutes.

Pirelli test driver and former Virgin Racing team driver Lucas di Grassi is also involved with the Formula E series and plans to be a test driver.

Rio de Janeiro will be holding one race and others will be ideally staged in the heart of world’s leading cities around their main landmarks according to FIA.

Financial Times said that the series aims to draw competitors from traditional F1 teams, electric car companies and global brands.

“We don’t expect the big carmakers to step into Formula E in the beginning,” said chief executive Agag. “The industry is not too familiar with electric racing. But I am sure they will come in [at] a second stage.”


Talking about the series Todt said, “I would like to thank all the parties involved. This new competition at the heart of major cities is certain to attract a new audience. We are pleased with this agreement with Formula E Holdings as they bring a very strong experience in motor sport. This spectacular series will offer both entertainment and a new opportunity to share the FIA values and objectives of clean energy, mobility and sustainability with a wider and younger audience as well.”

It is going to be an interesting series and how the F1 fans react to it will also be very crucial for the growth of the sport.
To achieve anything, you must be prepared to dabble on the boundary of disaster.”
Sir Stirling Moss

Lycoming
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hollus wrote: ..... isn't there enough fossil fuel for the next 500+ years (eg oil in tar sands) ?(or 20000 years including methane clathrates ?)
Yes and no... ignoring the possible effects on the atmosphere, the cost of extracting it get bigger and bigger. If you are going to claim future technology for extracting fossil fuelcheaply and cleanly, I'll claim future technology to produce electricity even cheaper.
Even if we ran out of fossil fuels, racing on biofuels is perfectly feasible, even if it ultimately proves worthless for mass consumption.
hollus wrote: ..... isn't electricity mostly produced using fossil fuels at an average efficiency to end use of 40% ?
Yes... for cost reasons. Electricity from hydro, solar and wind is slowly approaching the break-even point.
I think hydro's well past the break even point for dams that have been around a while. For example, there's no way the hoover dam is still paying for itself.

Gatecrasher
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Re: Formula E

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For anyone who loves motorsport but is unsure electric racing is exciting try watching Charge which is a video documentary about the Motoczysz Team going to the IOMTT. Narrated by Ewan McGregor.

Here is onboard video of the two riders, Mark Miller and Michael Rutter which is not in the movie, speeds they talk about are in mph not kph:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxqzhEJfriQ

RB7ate9
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Re: Formula E

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strad wrote:
FIA approves Formula E series to take place in the near future – Formula 1 news...

The drivers will have to switch cars during mid-race pit-stops because the batteries will run out after 25 minutes.
Or, y'know, develop fast-charge technologies or techniques to hot-swap battery packs....*sigh*.

gato azul
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f1316 wrote: This is exactly what I've always thought about electric cars. In this sense there is an advantage to them in that maxmium torque is available at zero speed.
I think, that this advantage is overstated in the context of a race car/series.
How often do you start from "zero speed"/need maximum torque at "zero speed" during a normal race?
(not accounting for spins etc. and during pitstops, the max. possible acceleration is limited by the pitspeed limit, so not much to gain there either)

There is no question, that this is the "strong suit" for an EV, but I think this advantage is not that significant for the overall performance in a race.
As longer the race, as less significant this (start performance) will become.

This "demonstrator" vehicle (or whatever you want to call it), looks close to an F3 car, as far as the overall appearance is concerned. They claim general performance on par with an F3 car, which is doable, allowed perhaps for a shorter period of time. Form the news/infos that is floating around it seems, that they look for a 4x 15 min race format for these cars.
Image

which makes it similar to the format in which the "Trophy Andros" ice racing series is run, where they have a category for "electric cars" since some years.
In fact, an Electric car won the series outright, before they split the categories into a "petrol" and "electric" class.

I would not get too hung up and a comparison to current F1, and compare the cars to the performance of current F1 cars.
There are other aspects which, if they work out (and that remains to be seen), could make this and interesting exercise.
As far as I understand it, they plan to run the series "downtown" in metropol cities around the world, sort of Monaco/Surfers Paradies/Valencia all the time. That is an interesting concept, because people will not need to go to the "middle of nowhere" (as is still the case with race tracks) to see it. They can use public transport, have likely no or smaller accommodation costs and if it "sucks" are home in 30 min.
Now, that may be a nonevent for "true blue / die hard" fans, but for the average joe/jolie who just want's to have a look at it, this could be a compelling enough argument to give it a try.
Sure it will cost loads of money if you wanna push the envelope on the technical side, just as F1 or any other top notch racing series does, so what's the big deal with that?
On the positive side, it opens up the possibility for companies/sponsors to become involved, which may don't have many ties to the traditional automotive field/racing. Sure, you can put your name on about anything for some branding, can be an F1 car, can be trickot/jersey in any other sport. But who is going to profit from a move to more EV's?
Apart from companies like Siemens and GE you have the large utility companies like EdF &/or Eon etc. who could be willing to throw some money onto this.
I think, the motorsport landscape is large and diversified enough to accommodate this type of racing. If nobody wants to see it, it will die anyway sooner or later, but if you look at RC car racing, where electric and petrol classes exist and both have there own championships and followers, why something similar should not work in 1:1 scale as well.
I think a discussion centering around one replacing the other or one or the other is a bit mood, and off the mark, for now it will be one and the other, and I don't think there is anything wrong with having more racing to choose from.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br4D2iGBVfs[/youtube]

gato azul
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Lycoming wrote:
amc wrote:At the moment those Formula E cars look very limited on downforce levels


I don't see any reason why that should be true. AFAIK those details of the regulations are yet to be revealed.
if we take what is published on the FIA website, then pretty much anything goes. (with some limits).
What I find interesting and sensible in a way, is the fact, that you will have to think about what you are doing, before you
role it out for the season.
A bit like during the heydays of Super Touring car racing, you can do what you like (within the rules) but then you have to stick with it, for the rest of the season, not being able to "chase any butterfly" you may see up and down pitlane.
4.6) Aerodynamic devices
The design of aerodynamic elements is free.
The aerodynamic behaviour of the vehicle can be altered by the driver but only in discrete pre-programmed steps.
The number of pre-set steps is free. In case of any failure of these systems, all adjustments must switch automatically to the fail-safe mode which is maximum downforce.
All components creating aerodynamic downforce must be connected to the sprung chassis.
It is allowed to use mechanical energy for operating the aerodynamic devices but it is not permitted to create a vacuum underneath the car by using a fan
Why would any technical minded/interested person not like this kind of rules?
I'm looking forward, to see, what people will come up with.

Lycoming
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If that's the case, I'd go for a low drag, high efficiency setup to reduce power consumption. Maybe get away with a smaller battery pack. It doesn't make sense to do an open wheel F3 type concept; way too draggy, considering the limitations of the F3 ruleset no longer apply.

f1316
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Lycoming wrote:If that's the case, I'd go for a low drag, high efficiency setup to reduce power consumption. Maybe get away with a smaller battery pack. It doesn't make sense to do an open wheel F3 type concept; way too draggy, considering the limitations of the F3 ruleset no longer apply.
Yes, that's why the "model/example" car confused me - surely the whole point will be to make up for a lack of power with increased aero efficiency? Why would you therefore have open wheels like that?

I'm also intrigued by the driver controlled moveable aero that is mentioned in the above. "Discreet pre-programmed steps" seems quite vague to me, but I'd be interested to see where this goes.