How does a Formula E car differ from a Formula One car?
At first glance, Formula E cars look pretty much like Formula One machines: long and pointy and covered with names you’ve never heard of. Look closer, though, and there are some pretty major differences. Formula E cars are built from the ground up as fully electric vehicles. Where an F1 car has an engine, fuel tank and a hybrid system under its bodywork, a Formula E car has a battery pack, transmission and electric motor.
Unlike Formula One, where teams are required (at colossal expense) to develop their own chassis (the basic structure of the car) engines and transmissions, all Formula E cars use a standard chassis and battery pack. Formula E teams can design their own powertrain, which includes the motor, transmission, inverter (a device that converts DC power to AC power) and rear suspension.
In terms of performance, Formula E cars are considerably less powerful than their Formula One counterparts. A front-running Formula One car generates more than 700kW of power and weighs 740kg, while a current Formula E car generates 250kW and weighs 900kg. So don’t expect a head-to-head FE vs F1 showdown any time soon.
Tyres are another area where the two cars differ. Where Formula One uses slick tyres, Formula E cars use Michelin Pilot Sport all-weather tyres with treads like you’d find on a road car. By using these tyres, Michelin doesn’t need to freight hundreds of extra tyres to each event. The same tyres are used whether it’s raining or dry.