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Development of Electric Cars in Motorsport

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Recently, we analysed Williams Racing‘s involvement in sustainability and electric cars and how this may impact Formula One in the future.

With the creation of Formula E and the sustainability-related regulations imposed in Formula One, many are who wonder whether there will be a time in which Formula One cars will also become electric.

Toto Wolff spoke about how more electric the power unit used from 2025 will be. The Mercedes Team Principal appealed to the idea of Formula One reducing the volume of carbon emission but still admits that it will take Formula One a long road to switch to electric cars. One needs to consider those non-European countries that still run most of their cars on fuel, while Europe plans to switch to fully electric road cars by 2030, which still seems unachievable by most considering the many vehicles that will need to be changed.

In today’s feature, we’ll be looking at how more electric racing cars are being developed and look at what Formula One drivers even have to say about them.

Race of Champions (ROC)

This competition was the first-ever major motorsport event to feature electric cars back in 2010 with the Tesla® Roadster. This competition features Champion drivers from various motorsport events such as Formula One, W Series, Rally Racing, Indy Car and so on.

This year it featured Formula One’s own Sebastian Vettel and Mick Schumacher while it also featured former drivers Mika Häkkinen and David Coulthard. These drivers got to drive various electric cars on snow during the event. ROC is making a great sustainability statement and made some great partnerships with major manufacturers to produce electric racing cars.

This year it featured:

  • The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport – Besides it being electric, this car’s bodywork is made from sustainable material. The driver and passenger doors are made from natural fibre composites along with the fixed rear wing;
  • The RX SuperCar Lites are run on 100% fossil-free biofuel. These are currently being mostly used in the Rally X Nordic;
  • The RX2e also made its debut in ROC this year. With a power of 335bhp, this electric car accelerates from 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds. Olsbergs MSE CEO, Andreas Eriksson described it to have a ” ‘send-it-sideways’ style”;
  • The Polaris Pro XP was a great race car to battle it out in the snow. It is said that it has been built eight times stronger in its every aspect and
  • Finally the FC1-X Electric Rallycross SUV is also run on 100% fossil-free biofuel. the manufacturers of such cars are those of the SuperCar Lites and the Rx2e, First Corner, LLC. Eriksson commented about this car saying, “Our future goal is to break all kinds of records with this platform. We can today do 0-100km in less than 1.5 seconds. The car will make a mark on history and perhaps change the way we look at motorsport. ROC is the perfect launch pad for the FC1-X.”

With Eriksson’s comments about how electric cars are now becoming faster and faster, the question of how this affects motorsport does arise. The FC1-X has a power of 1170 HP, which is similar to that of a Formula One car. So realistically, an electric car can go as fast as a Formula One car, the question is, how does it last for 80 laps?

A Formula One engine normally produces an estimate of 850 HP and then has an estimate of 150 HP added thanks to the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which in total add up to an estimate of 1000 HP, close to that of the FC1-X.

FC1-X Race of Champions

Image Credit: Race of Champions

Porsche’s Movement in Electric Cars

Porsche has been linked with a return to Formula One for quite some time now, along with Audi. It has been reported that these two teams are already designing and developing the V6 engines which are set to come into place in 2026.

Whether they will be supplying other teams with engines, or whether they will be using them for their own team to compete in Formula One, is still unknown. Toto Wolff had previously said that these V6 engines tend to be more electric.

Porsche has been making great development in electric cars, and this month they also achieved their first win and 1-2 finish in Formula E.

Recently, Porsche also announced the new Mission R, which is a new all-electric racing car concept. Porsche aimed at creating a whole new experience with this racing car for both driver and fans.

This car aims to present what future Porsche cars would look and feel like. Porsche are preparing for the future, which with it also includes that of Esports and Twitch. That is why they have built a seat that is similar to that of a racing simulator. It includes biometric sensors in the steering wheel so that whoever is giving this car concept a go can ‘feel’ what drivers feel while racing.

With Porsche pushing more forward with the development of electric cars and already creating such simulator programmes to see what levels they can reach, it makes me think whether they have some plans up their sleeves for electric Formula One cars.

Many still think that it is simply impossible for Formula One to turn completely electric, but as we have seen from this piece, racing cars that can reach the speed of an F1 car are already being constructed.

The only aspect missing is that of duration. Formula E cars go 45 minutes without being charged, but Formula One cars go on to race for two hours, and it will take great resources to discover a battery that will power the car for that amount of time.

With the many developments being made, it is possible though that by maybe 2050, we see an electric Formula One car, strong enough to race for two hours reaching impeccable speeds.

Video Credit: Porsche Youtube

Head Image Credit: Race of Champions

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