Sportscar makers Mercedes-Benz and Porsche will be racing into the future of car racing as they join the next Formula E electric racing season of the ABB Formula E in November 2019.
With the 2019/2020 racing calendar now announced for the 6th season of the zero emissions FIA-backed championship, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche will bring the total of vehicles and drivers at the starting line in November to 24 – more than ever in the race’s 5 year history.
The calendar also boasts two more racing events in the circuit, with South Korea’s capital Seoul to host the race for the first time ever in May 2020.
In addition to Seoul, a return to London has also now been confirmed, appearing on the calendar as the finale location in July 2020.
“Next season promises to be the most exciting and eagerly-anticipated in the short history of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship,” said Alberto Longo, co-founder & deputy CEO of the Formula E in a statement.
The addition of Seoul and London will bring the total number of racing events for the season from 12 to 14, covering four continents from Europe to Asia to North and South America, with two locations yet to be confirmed.
Starting in Saudi Arabia before heading to one as yet unconfirmed location then on to Mexico and Chile in South America, the Formula E then heads back to Hong Kong and then on to another uncofirmed location in China.
Rome and Paris will then be followed by Seoul, then back to Europe in Berlin before hopping across to New York.
The two final racing dates will culminate in one weekend in July in London.
“More races and new faces, with the incredible new additions of Seoul and London, as well as the inclusion of Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. Looking at the list of cities and capitals backing Formula E and the electric movement, it’s the longest and most comprehensive calendar to date,” says Longo.
— ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) June 14, 2019
The cutting edge championship, which will drive the transition to electric cars according to the likes of Formula One champion drive Nico Rosberg, is conducted in city streets bringing the excitement of electric car racing to the people.
It has already attracted motorsport giants such as Audi, BMW, Mahindra, Nissan, and Jaguar as well as Germany’s HWA Racelab, Monaco’s Venturi and Chinese Nio.
Along with additional racing dates and competitors, the 2019/2020 Formula E series will feature some tweaks to its rules and regulations.
With some fundamentally different and high performance technology to the Formula One under the bonnet, electric car racing already presents opportunities to engage a future generation of fans in ways that are not possible with combustion engines.
One such feature, known as “Attack Mode” which allows drivers to use an additional boost of power, will benefit from a raise in kilowatts from 225kW to 235 kW.
In addition, “drivers won’t be able to activate Attack Mode under Full Course Yellow (FCY), or when the safety car is deployed – meaning the drivers will have to go off the racing line to activate Attack Mode under normal race conditions and retain the risk of losing positions.”
Emphasising the power management focus of electric car racing, new rules will be introduced such that during FCY and in safety car periods, an amount of power equal to 1kWh per minute will be subtracted from the total energy remaining in each car’s battery.
The reason behind this is to encourage drivers to try new ways to jockey for position.
“Drivers will no longer be able to save energy by driving at lower speeds under FCY or behind the safety car, leading to more varied strategies and more close, wheel-to-wheel racing from start to finish,” according to the Formula E website.
With a number of updates to car performance, power and battery management as well bodywork design also being released for the second generation of Formula E cars, “Alongside the tweaks made to the sporting regulations, the racing has the potential to be even more intense and unpredictable than ever,” says Longo.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.