It’s not just regular consumer cars that are going green – race cars are doing it too.
Electric connector manufacturer FCI has just signed a partnership with Formulec in order to sponsor a Formula One electric car race. According to its website, Formulec’s mission statement is “to promote motor racing of tomorrow through new and ambitious technological solutions.” To achieve this goal, Formulec took the first step of designing and building an electric version of the Formula 1 race car. Known as the EF01, this car was built in conjunction with the consulting firm of Segula Technologies and the Formula 1 team for Mercedes GP Petronas.
Formula One race cars are open cockpit and open wheel single-seat race cars. The engine is positioned behind the driver, and the car has front and rear wings. Not just any race car can be a Formula One; the FIA Formula One World Championship has laid out strict guidelines for what distinguishes a Formula One race car from a regular race car. These guidelines address nearly everything about the car, including the engine, transmission, aerodynamics, fuel, brakes and tires. In addition to technical requirements, the Formula One Championship requires the racing teams to actually construct the car themselves, but they are allowed to have others do the designing and manufacturing.
The new electric Formula One race car follows all of the Formula guidelines with an obvious exception in terms of fuel. The batteries in the EF01 were provided by Saft, the engine was provided by Siemens, and the high performance computer that transmits the electricity produced by the battery to the engine came from FCI. The EF01 can go from zero to sixty within three seconds. Floor the gas and you’ll find yourself whizzing down the race track at 162 miles per hour. Once, cars that were powered by electricity couldn’t go very fast, but clearly car manufacturers have overcome that design flaw at this point; the EF01 is the one of the fastest electric cars on the planet. High performance fuel cars like the Bugatti Veyron can hit 267 miles per hour, but that doesn’t diminish the accomplishments of the engineers that designed the EF01.
With the completion of the EF01, Formulec is ready to take step two in achieving its goal of promoting motor racing, which is why it joined up with FCI to get the word out about the EF01. FCI and Formulec will be taking the EF01 on an international promotional tour in 2011, with the EF01 slated to be the opener for several events and showcases around the world. In addition to showcasing the car, Formulec and FCI plan to launch the first ever Formulec World Series for electric single-seater race cars in 2012. Eventually, Formulec and FCI hope to organize a world championship for electric race cars.