Formula E to introduce charging pitstops amid massive overhaul
Formula E cars will stop for quick charging pit stops at several races during the 2023 season as part of a major rules overhaul for the all-electric World Championship.
The new Attack Charge stops will be introduced gradually, similar to F1’s slow introduction of Sprint races, and will see cars charged with a bumper 600kW charger – around double the strength of the fastest chargers seen on our roads today. This will mean the cars gain 4kWh of charge in just 30 seconds. These mandatory Attack Charge stops will now activate Attack Mode.
The current method for activating Attack Mode, where the cars have to drive through a specific area of the track to get a set amount of time with more energy to use, will be retained for all races where Attack Charge is not in place. When the Attack Charge pitstops are used this will be the new method of activating Attack Mode.
Fanboost will be dropped completely ahead of Season 9. The mechanism that allowed spectators to vote for their favourite drivers which then gave those that came out at the top extra energy for a limited period, has been in place since the very first season.
The other major change to the format of Formula E races will be the switch to lap-based race lengths, rather than time. Currently Formula E races are held over 40 minutes, with extra time added for safety car and full course yellow periods. For 2023 the races will run over a set number of laps, which will change venue to venue, with any safety neutralised periods compensated for with extra added laps.
Season 9 is already set to be a major change for Formula E, with the original plan to run an updated version of the Gen 2 cars ditched in favour of an all-new Formula E car that made its dynamic debut at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard. The new car is both lighter and more powerful than the outgoing Gen 2 cars, with 350kW of power instead of the current 300.
In addition to the changes to the races themselves, each team will now be obliged to run a rookie driver in at least two Free Practice 1 sessions through the season – a move similar to that implemented in Formula 1. Given the lack of ladder for electric racing this will be a chance for young talent to experience non-combustion racing without jumping straight into a Formula E race seat.
Speaking about the changes Jamie Reigle, CEO, Formula E, said: “Our updated sporting regulations are evidence of the continued evolution and positive impact of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for drivers, teams, partners and fans into the consumer EV world.
“The combination of sporting enhancements, a step change in car performance, cutting-edge battery technology and the innovation of Attack Charge will make our racing more competitive and entertaining while showcasing the future for EV development. This is at the heart of what Formula E set out to achieve and we look forward to seeing the new generation come to life in Season 9.”
The new season begins on 14th January in Mexico City as it embarks on a 17 race championship. Formula E has not confirmed which races will involve Attack Charge, but it is expected that they will be later in the year.