In a rare opportunity to view a private manufacturer test day, e-racing365 was invited by DS Automobiles to witness Andre Lotterer testing the all-new Gen 2 car at Calafat last week.
Private testing days, of which just 15 are afforded to the nine confirmed manufacturers in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, are intense affairs.
This is especially so when a brand new car breaks cover and every kilometer of running counts.
DS worked on a variety of programs in hot and testing conditions at Calafat.
Lotterer, who was on hand just a few days after returning from the New York City finale, was focused on adding his priceless experience in major project development to the new car.
Recently crowned champion Jean-Eric Vergne completed half a day of running a few days before, along with Techeetah’s test and development driver James Rossiter.
As revealed by e-racing365 earlier this month, DS has already completed the equivalent of a season’s testing with its new DS E-Tense FE 19.
DS and Audi are rumored to have made the most progress with their overall Gen 2 packages, but with homologation just ten days away, every lap was crucial.
Managing the test was DS Performance Formula E Project Manager, Thomas Chevaucher, who has been an integral part of DS’ Formula E story since 2015.
DS project manager Thomas Chevaucher has been an integral part of the manufacturer’s Formula E program since 2015.
He and his team have been flat-out in recent months, juggling both development testing and the wind-down of DS’s partnership with Virgin Racing.
“It has been an intense period, but this is racing sometimes,” Chevaucher told e-racing365.
“What we have worked on is improving the efficiency in many areas, but in season five there are two main improvements overall we are focusing on.
“One is the energy recovery which goes from 150 kW to 250 kW which makes a massive difference on braking.
“The other is that we now have a brake-by-wire system and not a normal hydraulic distribution and this improves massively the efficiency of energy recovery.”
As also uncovered by e-racing365, DS is utilizing its own brake-by-wire system as part of its goal to use the Formula E program to showcase road car technological developments.
The Gen 2 car also features a battery supplied by McLaren Applied Technologies, which provides almost double the energy capacity as the outgoing model to complete a full race distance.
The car now weighs 900 kg with the driver, including 18 kg from the halo system, while the battery, which is no longer a stressed part of the car, weights approximately 389 kg.
The new battery is 47 kg heavier than its Williams-provided predecessor, while it also gives the car a higher center of gravity.
E-racing365 understands that DS has achieved a 30 percent weight reduction on its powertain between last season’s car and the new model.
Chevaucher believes the new race format of 45 minutes plus one lap will be a crucial tactical challenge as teams are forced to reset their strategic outlook for a timed race.
The series ran races to a lap count in its first four seasons.
“As a fan the 45-minute regulation is a good idea, but as an engineer it will be a nightmare,” he explained.
“It is easy to simulate in testing and we have done some of that. The point is that the end of the race will be dictated by the leader, their pace and when they cross the line after 45 minutes.
“If you are not the leader it is hard to anticipate and if they have a three second lap they could slow to save. Strategy wise this will create new situations and it will be very interesting to see who adapts and who doesn’t.”