Formula E – driving eMobility with emotions

Formula E is far more than just a new sport. It is a commitment to innovation, to mobility beyond the combustion engine and fossil energy sources. And: Formula E is emotion, competition and fascination. We at Würth Elektronik eiSos are convinced: These emotions are needed if something as groundbreaking as independence of an industrial society from fossil fuels is to be achieved.

That's why Würth Elektronik eiSos Group supports Formula E by sponsoring the extremely successful Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E team. Environmental friendliness, economy and sustainability are the initiators' declared goals. This is underlined by the fact that zero-emission races are staged in the centers of major cities.

Good for the image of eMobility

Not only in Germany is eMobility lagging behind goals and expectations. Since it has long been treated by the car industry as a poor relation, eMobility also faces a massive image problem. We believe: For too long, eMobility has been considered an ecologically rational decision - the passion for a major goal is missing. Half-hearted hybrid vehicles or small cars offer little fascination and only excite the purists. But when racing cars powered by electric engines can be stretched to their limits, then this palpably demonstrates to every spectator that a high-performance technology is emerging. 250 kW, 280 km/h and 0 to 100 km/h in 2.8 seconds: these are values that arouse interest. Motor racing puts emotionality into electro mobility - and that's a good thing.

Formula E = eMobility + amazement

Formula E fosters image-building for eMobility. The new race series ensures that eEngines establish the awareness of the public at large as a highly potent alternative. eMobility takes on a fun factor and it is clear that more and more companies are investing money in the development of this technology.

Formula E also sends out a signal to developers. To work in the pit lane in Formula 1 or in the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) is the dream of many car mechanics. The aim is for Formula E to be similarly attractive for electronic and electromechanical engineers. It is simply exciting to be part of a racing team and with one's own work to contribute to the racing victories of the team. A generous portion of sport and fascination helps to raise the attractiveness and popularity of careers related to eMobility.

Future technology

Ok, eMobility has become established as an important future technology. However, it would be desirable if eMobility were to be much more part of today's technology. eVehicles are a means of sustainable consumption and storage of renewable energies. This combination will be crucial for an industrial society that has to face up to the end of the oil era. Worldwide oil reserves are far more important for other areas (chemicals, medicine, etc.) than for burning in engines. eMobility is also the salvation for inner cities plagued by smog and fine dust.

The hope is that Formula E will direct more awareness to the potential of electric drives. It is time for market-ready vehicles and charging infrastructures to be developed for a mass market. Electrical racing cars are test laboratories on four wheels in which the efficiency of technologies is advanced.

A greenhouse for development

In the first Formula E season, all teams will drive the same vehicle. From season two the teams are allowed to develop everything that’s placed behind the battery in the car. This allows the teams to develop their own engines, gearboxes, power trains and transmissions. In the last seasons the FIA Formula E Holdings focussed on the development of the electronics in the cars. There were no modifications on aerodynamics and the chassis itself. The idea behind is to develop future technologies.

The key question surrounds energy efficiency. The Würth Elektronik eiSos Group therefore views its Formula E sponsoring as a technology partnership. Under extreme conditions of motor sports, each individual component is put through its paces. The parts required for eMobility solutions are taken to their limits. Insights are gained here that reveal the scope and options for improving components and systems.

Not Würth Elektronik iBE Group, supplier of customized components for automotive electronics, is committed to Formula E, but the entire Würth Elektronik eiSos Group. This clearly shows: We do not restrict eMobility to the automotive industry. Many of the challenges and possibilities for the new technology lie in completely different areas. This involves electronics in conjunction with all forms of electrical drives, their control and storage of the required energy. Of key importance here are highly efficient passive components that use energy more effectively and provide more power on the decisive laps of the race. The battery charging process is another field of optimization in which passive components play an important role.

The Würth Elektronik eiSos Group portfolio already includes many components awaiting deployment under extreme conditions of a racing car. Three quality features are of particular importance here: heat management, efficiency and power. Würth Elektronik eiSos Group develops its components for use under critical environmental conditions, such as temperatures beyond the standard range. All raw materials are mutually matched in the idea phase of a new product. From adhesive to wire, through to solder pad alloy. In order to raise the efficiency of its components, our inductors and ferrites have a very low DC resistance to minimize copper losses and maximize the efficiency of the application. Minimization of power losses is a main focus of development, for example of very low-loss core materials that increase the energy converted per unit time, i.e. electrical performance.

Electrical performance is a concept that makes Formula E come alive. The goal of the research, whose test lab buzzes along race track at 280 km/h, is to enhance this concept.