The popularity of motorsport does not wane. With its reach increased by the Netflix hit show Drive to Survive, Formula 1 in particular has gained a completely new audience platform. What its sister league of electric cars in Formula E may lack in distinctive sound profile (and on-screen drama), it makes up for in greener tech.
With new battery technology, Formula E cars could soon outperform F1 cars. In addition, lessons learned from the routes could also be used to improve battery life and performance of commercial electric vehicles.
Ultra-high performance platform exhibited in Bologna
This week, WAE (formerly known as Williams Advanced Engineering, a branch of Williams Grand Prix Engineering, the company behind the Williams F1 racing team) unveiled its latest EVR ultra-high performance electric vehicle platform at the E-TECH Europe conference in Bologna.
The EVR is currently being issued outside the UK for the first time. Photo credit: WAE
With its state-of-the-art 85kWh battery and peak power of 1650kW, EVR enables 0-100km/h acceleration in less than 2.0 seconds and a top speed of more than 400km/h. For reference, the top speed ever recorded by an F1 car was just over 397 km/h when the Honda F1 team drove a modified version of their Formula 1 car over the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
The third-generation Formula E cars currently in use reach speeds of around 320 km/h. Meanwhile, Croatia’s Rimac Nivera set the top speed for an electric hypercar at 415 km/h last yearat the Automotive Testing Papenburn racetrack in Germany.
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Offers EV developers a modular approach
The company says EVR has an inherent flexibility and modularity that allows it to offer startups a complete turnkey solution with the entire vehicle, as well as exterior design support.
“We wanted to release something on our own platform because whether it’s a newcomer, a brand returner, or even an established OEM looking for a Halo car, it’s a step forward in the evolution of Vehicles that could last three to four years. We can give them something that’s already 12 months in the process,” Chris McCaw, Principal Engineer at WAE, specified.
In addition to the EVR platform, WAE’s booth at E-TECH also featured the Scalable Battery Module (SBM) system and the TE-1 electric motorcycle prototype, Triumph’s first zero-emission prototype demonstrator.
The TE-1 is part of Triumph’s electric motorcycle strategy. Photo credit: WAE
WAE supplies the electrical systems for almost every electric racing series including Gen 3 Formula E, Extreme E, ETCR and electric Skootr racing. Since 2013, customers of the company’s products have won nine Drivers’ Championships and eight Constructors’ Championships, putting it on a far better footing than its petrol-powered cousin lately.
Today, WAE also launched Elysia – its new battery intelligence division, born of over a decade of experience in the high-performance electric car business. The company says it brings together electrochemistry, modelling, AI and data science to boost the performance of any battery system.
Battery intelligence software to increase battery health and lifespan
Elysia’s software package is divided into two branches. The first consists of embedded algorithms designed to run on standard automotive hardware platforms. The second is a cloud platform with predictions to detect real failure mechanisms. According to the company, everything from e-scooters to road cars to electrified mining trucks will benefit.
Tim Engstrom, Chief Technology Officer at Elysia by WAE, says the modern lithium-ion battery is currently going through a “second advent”, largely due to the exploitation of data availability.
“The advent of mainstream, low-cost telematics has given manufacturers and fleet owners the ability to learn more about their vehicles than ever before,” said Engstrom Conditions.
Elysia’s battery management algorithms can be applied to a number of use cases. Photo credit: Elysia by WAE
However, he believes the transformative potential of this data has been under-exploited. After a big push in connectivity, it’s now time to use the battery data and “transform e-mobility at a larger scale”.
“Battery intelligence is an emerging discipline that seamlessly connects battery data with electrochemists, battery systems engineers and data scientists with the single goal of delivering actionable insights to enhance and protect value throughout the battery lifecycle,” continued Engström.
The presentation of EVR and the launch of Elysia took place during the second edition of the E-TECH Europe conference in Bologna. The city is at the center of Italy’s “Motor Valley”, which has produced iconic brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati and Bugatti.
Hundreds of companies exhibited their products in areas such as EV technology, fuel cell solutions, polymers, navigation devices, driver identification systems, autonomous driving and connectivity.