Williams wins 350kW Gen3 Formula E battery deal

Williams wins 350kW Gen3 Formula E battery deal

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Williams Advanced Engineering has recovered its position as the exclusive supplier of Formula E battery packs for electric racing with a deal to supply third generation technology.

The Gen3 battery specification will showcase energy density, power and fast charge capability. The Formula E battery packs will have to deliver peak power of 350kW in qualifying mode and a ‘Attack Mode’ burst scheme.

The deal revives the relationship that began in 2014, but WAE lost out to McLaren Applied for the Gen2 200kW (250kW peak) battery.

However WAE faces a power density and fast charging challenge. The Gen3 battery packs will be over 100kg lighter, down from 385kg to 284kg. This requires a specific power density of 1.9kW/kg, compared to lithium ion cells of typically 340W/kg, for the race time of 45 minutes.

To get around that challenge, and the current need to swap cars mid-race, Formula E has specified a new  30-second fast-charging system which would see the return of a more traditional pit stop during a race. This will be limited to 600kW maximum and will give an extra 4kWh of usable energy but this very fast charging will put pressure on the battery pack in current and temperature. A Formula  E race typically lasts 45 minutes plus one lap and covers up to 100km. 

Formula E, which is backed by ABB, will be responsible for the new car charging system, including the energy supply, the distribution network and the charging equipment to be used. The suppliers for this, and the powertrain, have yet to be announced, although Enel X currently provides the charging systems.

The deal will have consequences for the second use of the Formula E battery packs after the fast charging: WILLIAMS LOOKS TO USE RACING CAR BATTERIES FOR HOME STORAGE

“We’re extremely proud to be appointed the Gen3 battery supplier for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, particularly as we have been an integral part of the series from the start,” said Craig Wilson, Managing Director of WAE.

“High performance batteries are one of WAE’s core competencies and I am confident we will add further value in the areas of energy density, thermal efficiency, overall performance and reliability. Racing in such a competitive environment is also a challenge for batteries, but one that we embrace. We look forward to supporting the series as it moves to its next exciting chapter.”

Manufacturer teams will receive their first test and development cars in January 2022 before their race cars arrive in August ahead of the season starting at the end of the same year.

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