DS Performance has made immediate progress with its brake-by-wire system that it will use in Season Five of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, according to Xavier Mestelan-Pinon.
The change to electronically-controlled braking comes to Formula E after regular mechanical and regen-braking have been a key but challenging skill for the drivers so far.
Manufacturers will now invest a significant amount of time and money into electronic systems which should be more reliable in structuring the braking through new software applications that make up the systems known colloquially as brake-by-wire.
Initial tests by DS have seen a good amount of data already accrued by Stephane Sarrazin who has conducted the first six days of testing.
The experienced French driver has a large amount of experience with such systems in previous roles with the Peugeot and Toyota LMP teams.
“We ran for 1000 kilometers (621 miles) without any problems in the two tests at Monteblanco and Calafat,” said DS Performance Director Mestelan-Pinon.
“I have worked a lot on new model programs in the past, especially with rally cars [at Citroen World Rally Team] so I know the issues you expect to encounter. To be honest, I was really impressed by the results of this first test.
“The generation two car had no major technical or reliability issues and all the new systems worked very well, especially the new brake-by-wire system.
“We are happy and will start the normal development work soon.”
Mestelan-Pinon said that initial understanding of what the Gen 2 car is capable of, from a braking perspective, was specifically evaluated during the tests which were allocated to registered manufacturers last month.
“Firstly we need to know exactly where are the limits of the power train, especially around the maximum torque,” he said.
“We need to understand the range of the systems and to be sure that the brake-by-wire works in all the areas, in the way that we want and in how we plan to use it.
“Of course, we start to think about the future and how we would be able to use this new brake-by-wire system to help the driver be quicker by avoiding having an issue with the brakes and to improve the regeneration system; there is a lot of work to do.”
Most manufacturers spent time testing their brake-by-wire systems or prototype designs in their powertrains in the Spanish tests last month.
Mestelan-Pinon described how crucial it was for drivers to get a feel for the systems and to trust the software in applying the electronically-controlled braking.
“It will be a big change to have more torque on the regen, 250 kilowatts is a lot during the regen, so it will change a lot during the braking area,” he explained.
“But at the same time it is important is to be sure that the feeling that the driver has when he touches the pedal is good.
“We are still working on this, to be sure that the driver will have full confidence on the brakes and then the brake-by-wire system will take care of all the performance.
“If the driver has some doubts in the system then they cannot be fast.
“But so far it works very well and we haven’t had any problems, but we still continue to check everything, it is very important.”
DS will continue its testing of its Season Five package in June.