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INSIGHT: Brake-by-Wire Secrets of Formula E – Part 2

Part 2 of e-racing365’s look into brake-by-wire tech and its road relevance…

Photo: Formula E

This is Part 2 of e-racing365’s look into brake-by-wire technology in Formula E. Click here to read Part 1, published on Saturday, Dec. 22.

There is no doubt that the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is currently on a massive ascendant arc in just about all areas, including its technical relevance.

Manufacturer projections of how many electric vehicles they will be selling in the next two decades vary from brand to brand but there is now no disputing the fact that the number we see on our streets will continue rising.

At DS Automotive, one of only two Formula E teams using in-house brake-by-wire systems this season, the technology will be a significant race-to-road case study in years to come.

“We deliberately set out to harness and accelerate our BBW system and race it successfully before we implement a lot of this tech in to our road cars,” DS Performance technical chief Xavier Mestelan Pinon told e-racing365.

“We think this is a vital way to show customers that we are a laboratory for the road and that we put our systems through hell to ensure they can be relied upon.”

For LSP, which was highlighted in Part 1 of this feature as the company behind most teams’ BBW systems, Formula E makes sense.

The championship is already established and provides a neat synergy between LSP’s development process and its significant and successful work in the automotive sector.

Photo: LSP

“Formula E is only one of very few purely electric race series, and more importantly, it is big enough to handle a concept like recuperation management and active braking since this is no plug and play solution,” LSP’s Simon Zollitsch explained to e-racing365.

“Generally Formula E is a very progressive race series, which is picking up all the questions that come along with electric mobility.”

Future Developments

With an additional year likely to be added to the present new rules cycle taking the Gen 2 car until the end of the 2021-22 season, the immediate concern about the next iteration of Formula E car is slightly on the back burner.

“It has to be decided because we have to discuss if it is advanced enough,” Professor Burkhard Goeschel, president of the FIA’s Electric and New Energy Championship Commission (ENECC) told e-racing365 recently.

“The chassis is not really a big issue. It is more how modern the battery will be in the near future and if we can make some improvements on the battery because it is the core element.”

A key question regarding the future performance of Formula E centers on the technical management of batteries, and particularly their make-up regarding cell chemistry and how electrodes are developed.

“We have to see how much freedom we have to change the battery because bigger changes are coming from the electrodes,” said Goeschel.

“Then if you change the electrodes the battery is more or less new. We are thinking about how far do we go, should we extend to a year for the present cycle or not. It is an open game at the moment.”

The opportunities that Formula E presents for LSP should extend beyond the current car.

“Of course, there is always the aim for lighter, smaller, more powerful solutions in motorsport,” said Zollitsch.

“It’s rather a more precise control that helps the teams to balance recuperation torque and brake torque even better.

“However one has to bear in mind, that this is a braking system, and especially Formula E is running on small inner city circuits, so highest standards for safety always have the number one priority.”

Photo: Formula E

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 Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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