It is really incredible how quickly a Formula 1 car is fitted with a brand new set of tires during a race. A few seconds, that’s all it takes. In a Formula E race, that was all done very differently not so long ago. It’s not the tires that were swapped, but the whole car. The problem was that one battery charge was not powerful enough for a complete race. This was ended in 2018 because it was too risky. Since then, the races last just over three-quarters of an hour.

However, as of 2022, things are set to switch to an even higher gear. Formula E cars are advancing their development at an extremely fast pace. Both the electric motor and the battery are becoming more powerful with every year. The same goes for the speed at which a battery can be charged.

The Swiss industrial conglomerate ABB is one of the frontrunners in this technology. They will have the honor of being the first to charge the so-called third-generation E-cars (Gen3) from 2022 onwards. ABB announced this today. This happened during a video meeting in which, among others, the founder of Formula E Alejandro Agag, Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle and Tarak Mehta, who is responsible for “electrification” at ABB, were present.

30 seconds flat

It will not be as fast as Formula 1 cars just yet. But sitting back and doing nothing is not an option either. The idea is that mobile charging stations can charge two cars at the same time in just 30 seconds. In that half-minute, 4 kWh of current needs to flow into the battery. ABB has not yet explained how they exactly intend to accomplish this. But apparently they are ready and willing to take the plunge.

“As Formula E builds on the first successful phase of our partnership with ABB, we are delighted to extend our relationship through a deeper level of integration in Gen3.” says Reigle. “ABB will provide critical charging technology that will improve the racing product and showcase the potential of enhanced charging capabilities for electric vehicles.”

Test bed

According to Mehta from ABB, Formula E is much more than just a race for the Swiss. “It is our test-bed for innovative electromobility technologies, driving development to the production line of electric vehicles and ultimately contributing to a cleaner environment for all,”

To date, ABB has installed more than 14,000 DC high-speed chargers in over 80 countries. This makes it one of the leading suppliers of this technology. Competitors include Tritium, Schneider Electric, Siemens, ChargePoint and our own Alfen. In Formula E, ABB is the official partner of the TAG Heuer Porsche team.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019-08_motorsport-rennserien-formel-e-1004x386.jpg
E-racing care from team TAG Heuer Porsche, Photo Porsche

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About the author

Author profile picture Maurits Kuypers graduated as a macroeconomist from the University of Amsterdam, specialising in international work. He has been active as a journalist since 1997, first for 10 years on the editorial staff of Het Financieele Dagblad in Amsterdam, then as a freelance correspondent in Berlin and Central Europe. When it comes to technological innovations, he always has an eye for the financial feasibility of a project.