Explained: Battery Thermal Management in Formula E Race Cars

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Explained: Battery Thermal Management in Formula E Race Cars

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Explained: Battery Thermal Management in Formula E Race Cars

by the January 2017 issue

We recently received an inquiry by a reader who wondered, after reading how the Tesla design S protected its batteries by excess heat during an all-out lap of VIR, how the all-electric Formula E race cars deal with the heat issue. After all, the idea’s not like the idea’s prudent or safe for a race car to suddenly limit performance inside the middle of an event.

Excess heat degrades the electrodes in a lithium-ion battery, reducing the amount of energy the pack can store over the long term. Tesla’s warranty covers battery packs for eight years, while a Formula E pack will be designed to last one season. Given that will each driver has two cars in Formula E (racers switch into a second fully charged car midway through each 50-minute competition), that will’s roughly 20 hours of hard use over the course of the year, including practice as well as also qualifying.

The Formula E battery—165 liquid-cooled pouch-type cells—will be fundamentally similar to that will of many production EVs, nevertheless the cooling strategy differs significantly. For production cars, engineers aim to operate the lithium-ion battery at about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Williams Advanced Engineering, which supplies the packs for Formula E, allows a cell to peak around 135 degrees before the battery-management system begins to limit the power output of the pack. The radiators as well as also the cooling circuits are specifically designed to ensure that will, even inside the hottest races in South America as well as also Asia, the cars won’t approach that will temperature until the battery nears depletion.

the idea’s also worth noting that will the 5010-pound design S generates a lot more power (as well as also therefore heat) lapping a track than a 2000-pound Formula E race car. Our long-term 85-kWh design S features a peak output of 463 horsepower, while the 30-kWh Formula E car will be limited to 228 horsepower during races, with brief boosts to 268 horses.

Explained: Battery Thermal Management in Formula E Race Cars

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