The electric open-wheel racing series Formula E has delayed plans to implement a 600kW charging session during the middle of races until next season. This year's races were supposed to include a brief charging pit stop, but supply chain concerns prevented that from happening. The new "Gen3" vehicle used in Formula E this season is both lighter and more powerful than its predecessor, making it quicker. The new vehicle has a large DC charge capacity, which not only allows for more effective regenerative braking but also opens up the possibility of charging in the middle of a race. The FIA, Formula E, and its primary supplier Williams Advanced Engineering had to handle concerns pertaining to a change in battery cell spec at the beginning of 2022, which caused the delay in getting the technology up and working. This had a domino effect that threw off the schedule for making sure there were enough parts to test and then deliver the charging infrastructure.
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Formula E: Everything about Fast Charging Pitstop
This season, the series intended to include mid-race charging, with vehicles making one "pit stop" every race to do a 30-second charge. Although thirty seconds may not seem like a long time when talking about electric vehicle charging, the Gen3 vehicles have such rapid charge rates that every second counts.
Considering the Gen3's battery pack is 39kWh in capacity, a 30-second charge at 600kW can supply around 5kWh of energy. That means the automobiles may get a charge of more than 10% in a matter of seconds.
The ABB charging unit that will be utilised in the races has been delayed due to supply chain issues, according to Formula E. The original intention to implement charging at the start of the season was moved back to the middle of the year, and it now seems like the chargers won't be available until the last couple of race weekends.
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When the title is on the line, adopting a modification at the very end of the season might be a game-changer. Some teams voiced opposition, saying the regulations shouldn't be altered in the middle of the season. As the current leaders in both the teams and drivers championships, Porsche has voiced strong opposition to the rule change.
The series is now planning to implement charging at the beginning of the 2024 season, seemingly confident that supply concerns will have been ironed out and that racing teams would be more on board with a full season shift by then.
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