Formula E is headed for its second season and with it begins new era in motorsports for Schaeffler. As the exclusive technology partner of Team ABT Sportsline, the company has developed the powertrain of the new “ABT Schaeffler FE01.”
While in the Formula E’s inaugural season all the teams were still competing with standard-specification cars, the development of the entire powertrain has been allowed for the 2015/2016 season. Its core element is the electric motor named “ABT Schaeffler MGU 01.” The project was focused on achieving the best possible efficiency, high reliability and optimal thermal management due to modified cooling.
“Our motor has better torque and better efficiency than its predecessor,” said Prof. Peter Gutzmer, chief technology officer responsible for the developments at Schaeffler. “The first meetings took place about 10 months ago and only half a year later, the first parts were produced. The timing is tight, as always in motorsports, but we’re on schedule.”
Schaeffler also developed a new transmission that is coordinated with the motor and was produced by the company’s partner Hewland according to special specifications. It is stiffer and more compact, the company said. To achieve the goal of minimizing the number of shifting events per lap, the engineers opted for a three-speed variant. The suspension has been optimized as well, now featuring higher stiffness and improved kinematics. The connecting link between all the elements is the newly developed software that manages the interaction between all the components. The perfection of its functionality has been one of the focal aspects of the tests, according to Gutzmer.
“For us, it was clear from the beginning that we wouldn’t do anything by halves. That’s why we looked at all the areas released by the regulations and developed optimized solutions of our own together with our partners,” he said.
This is a standard to which Schaeffler is committed to outside motorsports as well. According to Gutzmer, “Electric mobility as a whole, including hybrid solutions as well as fully electric driving, will significantly define mobility of the future. The Formula E commitment is an ideal way of being at the forefront of this technology and sets an example: we want our engineers to push limits and to seek competition – in production just like in motorsports.”
Schaeffler has been involved in Formula E as a partner of the only German team from day one and is now taking the next step. “The collaboration with ABT Sportsline is outstanding. The team gelled in the first season, goes about its work in a professional and success-oriented manner, and is the perfect ambassador for our vision of ‘mobility for tomorrow,'” says Gutzmer.
For the drivers, the squad has opted for continuity as well. Sitting in the electric race cars named ABT Schaeffler FE01 will again be Daniel Abt (22) and Lucas di Grassi (31), who took third place in the teams’ classification in the first season. di Grassi was in contention for the drivers’ title up to the last of the 11 races. No other race driver mounted the podium during the season as often as the South American sporting Schaeffler’s colors.
Following the season opener in Asia, Formula E will be embarking on a world tour of South and North America, and Europe. The round in the heart of France’s capital Paris will be new on the calendar. The home round from Schaeffler’s perspective will be held in Berlin on May 21. For the finale, the 20 drivers will be meeting in London on the first weekend in July.