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Zooming In: Energy Management

In this episode of Zooming In, you’ll get an insider view of one of the most crucial aspects of Formula E racing: energy management. Taking you through the ups and downs is Jan-Hendrik Herold, Lead Vehicle Science Engineer for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team.

As a Formula E fan, you know our race cars are unique, in that they are powered entirely by electricity. But, did you know we are also limited to how much energy we can use per race? Every car has a regulated battery capacity of 52kWh. Which is enough to complete a race – but not at the speed you need to win. Making things even more challenging this year, cars will be permitted to draw an extra 20 kilowatts of power in Race mode and 15 kilowatts extra in Attack mode. With higher top speeds and faster acceleration you can look forward to an even more thrilling performance all round. But it also comes at a high cost: It burns energy faster. 

The solution? Recuperation. In a nutshell, when the car isn’t using electricity to drive it forward, it needs to generate electricity to replenish the charge it has been draining from the battery. In the 99X, that power recuperation is a remarkable piece of engineering that changes the way the e-motor works: During the race it acts as a generator, converting electrical energy into mechanical energy. But, by inverting that circle when braking, we can recuperate the mechanical energy back into electrical energy. Voila! The battery is topped up – not fully, but just enough to power up the next daring manoeuvre or high-speed dash for victory. 

As you can imagine, striking the perfect balance between maximum speed and optimal energy efficiency is the crux of the matter. This is where strategy becomes every bit as important as technology. During the race, when - and specifically, where - do you focus on conserving your energy and when do you go flat-out? Pre-preparation is critical. Before every race, our engineers pre-define various possible energy strategies based on the specific racetrack. These are tested, refined and re-tested in simulation until race-ready. Even then, we must be ready to recalibrate our strategy at any moment during the race itself. 

In the high-speed world of TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E, energy management is critical at all times. Anything can happen in a split second. The secret is to be prepared to seize that moment.

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