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Marquardt: Gen 3 Concept “Needs More Time”

BMW’s Jens Marquardt says the Formula E Gen 3 concept should not be rushed into…

Photo: BMW

The next generation of ABB FIA Formula E Championship car may not be completely defined until spring next year, while BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt says manufacturers should avoid rushing into the development.

E-racing365 understands that the biggest sticking point that is delaying Technical Working Group talks is the split opinion between an all-wheel-drive or rear-wheel drive platform.

This is likely to delay the final concept and formalization of the 2021 car until spring 2019.

“The biggest thing is that we are talking about Gen-3 when Gen-2 has not run [in races] yet,” Marquardt told e-racing365.

“What we all want is an evolutionary development of the championship, so how much can we say about what Gen-3 should look like when Season Five yet hasn’t happened?

“How about we just get the first few races done with Gen-2 cars before we fix what Gen-3 looks like. A concept like this perhaps needs more time.”

“We have to be careful because the way Formula E has developed so far is healthy and good but we have also seen other motorsport develop in an unhealthy way with loads of money in development without any real value to the spectator.”

Other areas of disagreement include the limitation of regenerating energy with only RWD, and the visible attraction of cars being driven at the limit.

“The thing that makes Formula E cars so exciting is that the cars are difficult to drive and they are not running on rails like many other cars do,” he said.

“A thousand horsepower in an F1 car is almost invisible because the cars are on rails [because of the aerodynamics]. People want to see the guy behind the wheel really having a hard job.”

E-racing365 understands that while the FIA is largely open to the specific technical format, Nissan and Formula E Founder and CEO Alejandro Agag are leaning more toward a non-AWD solution.

Several other manufacturers are lobbying strongly for an AWD design but with the potential for it to be limited to start launches and straights, which would in itself enhance regen capabilities while also negating some of the inherent handling enhancements.

An AWD design around the 450 kW mark for regen is believed to be an attractive option for many manufacturers as they look to use the advanced systems to accelerate technical and marketing plans around their automotive lines.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for from 2014-17. Contact Sam



  1. Avatar

    Old Trombone

    August 3, 2018 at 10:15 am

    “unhealthy way with loads of money in development without any real value to the spectator.”

    No! Just NO!

    This spectator here WANTS a technical sport. WANTS an engineering sport. I will dump this sport the minute you start ditching the tech for “Spectator value” that is nothing more than a few skids. We already have Drift! We already have F1. We already have Midgets on dirt.

    Why the phaak can’t we have ONE freaking sport for ENGINEERS? In an engineering industry?

    Since Marquardt took over from Mario Thiessen, BMW Motorsport has taken a huge dive wayyyyyy downhill. BMW results in IMSA have nosedived, Marquardt’s favorite boy Glock, who he brought with him from Toyota, has had average-to-poor results in the DTM, and Marquardt’s other favorite Da Costa got shown the way around by stand-in Sarrazin.

    And all Marquardt seems to do about it is Whine Whine Whine about GTLM/GTE BoP, and how FE should become some exact copy of F1/Indycar “spectacle” (which they aren’t).

    Marquardt: “They told me we could use our Bluff-fronted limousine for GTE and then at the last moment forbade us from running over it with a steamroller, so it’s all UNFAIR!”

    Harald Kruger – it’s time to say “You’re Fired”. Only problem being that you should say that to yourself first. 850i is the ugliest BMW of all time. i3 was a flop when decent styling would have made its excellent chassis shine. Where is a beautiful i4 half-a-decade after the i3 appeared? Where is the $65k i6 based off the i8? Why didn’t BMW overtly capitalize on VAG’s scandal when BMW had a clean record? Why did BMW let Karim Habib go, the designer of the beautiful F01 7er and Next100? Right in the moment when BMW should be cresting a wave as the new leaders of the world of car design, topping even Merc, instead they are adrift and directionless and whining about not getting free-breaks, and wanting basically a BoP’d FE. NO!

    • Avatar


      August 4, 2018 at 9:01 am

      you said everything…
      F1 in its beginning was an engineering driven motorsport event.
      WEC does still driven by engineering.
      Let’s keep FE focusing in the engineering side of the sport too.
      People that want show that go to watch NASCAR or IndyCar…

  2. Avatar

    Chris Llana

    August 3, 2018 at 10:53 am

    AWD is a must if the series is to remain relevant to electric road cars. With the emergence of single-pedal speed control and the shift to magnetic/regenerative braking (away from friction braking except for sudden stops), it is important that all four wheels be driven, so that all four wheels can contribute to balanced and effective magnetic braking. This is what new more-premium EVs are already doing; Formula E cars are supposed to incorporate cutting edge technology that can be moved into street EVs, not the opposite. The people who want Gen-3 cars to retain RWD seem to be wedded to the archaic fossil ideology that REAL performance/racing cars must be RWD because that’s the way it’s always been. Past time to move Formula E into the future. Gen-2 cars should have been AWD; don’t repeat that mistake with Gen-3.

    • Avatar


      August 4, 2018 at 9:13 am

      do agree with everything you said. FE has to look in to the future and lead the change, not commit the mistake F1 did only catching-up (the first modern hybrid road-car was the Toyota Prius in 1991 and F1 only adopted hybrid engines in 2013!) with road car tech.

      AWD is crucial for EVs because you can conserve and harness energy in a more efficient way. The 3Gen FE car has to be AWD and the 4th Gen should include in-wheels Hub motors (one for each wheel) for better vectoring traction.

  3. Avatar


    August 4, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    I’m not sure. I prefer RWD myself in racing but I am excited about the possibility of AWD as well just because it would set FE apart further and as a benefit for regen and acceleration.

    If it was used only on the straights, then there shouldn’t be too much penalty. So I think they should probably do it.

    But also, people saying it’s essential because of how electric cars are going. That’s not true. The Model 3 has been sold in big numbers as a RWD car. That may change over time but the base model will remain that way, and that will be the most popular version of the car. Cheaper EVs will not all go AWD either because FWD is more than sufficient and cheaper.

    • Avatar

      Chris Llana

      August 5, 2018 at 11:15 am

      All Model S and X are dual-motors now. Model 3 RWD was most popular because that’s all Tesla was building, but now that they have started to make AWD versions, Tesla says most orders are now for dual-motor Model 3. Electrek just reported that the latest batch of Model 3 VINs is 100% for the AWD version. That said, it’s true that less expensive, more basic EVs will continue (for the time being) to be FWD or RWD (for example, the upcoming VW I.D. Neo is RWD). Most people are not aware of AWD’s magnetic/regenerative braking benefits, continuing to think the fossil idea that AWD is only beneficial for driving in snow.

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