Audi's next-gen Formula E racer has a tiny and efficient powertrain

The generator/motor puts 95 percent of battery's power to the wheels.

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Steve Dent
November 26th, 2020
Audi's Formula E racing car.

Audi’s latest Formula E car delivers a big boost in efficiency and weight savings, the company announced (as seen by CNET). The E-Tron FE07 shares the same carbon-fiber body, 18-inch Michelin road tires and 52 kWh McLaren battery with other teams. However, it packs an all-new powertrain that Audi hopes will give it an edge in the 2021 Formula E season.

The MGU05 motor-generator is the vehicle’s new centerpiece, generating 335 horsepower that can be boosted to 382 horsepower in “attack mode.” That allows for top speeds of 149 mph, with a zero to 62 mph time of 2.88 seconds.

Audio E-Tron FE07 Formula E race car

However, it now puts that power to the road much more efficiently. The MGU05 now runs at about 95 percent efficiency, matching rivals like Mahindra racing and nearly doubling the efficiency of Formula 1’s hybrid power units. Better still, Audi said that thanks to a new design and carbon fiber materials, the power unit’s overall weight is 35 kilograms, helping reduce the EV’s overall weight.

During its tech talk, Audi said that the new efficiency gains actually came from its “ultra lightweight technology” already incorporated into passenger vehicles, rather than the other way around. However, Formula E principal Allan McNish believes that software developed in Formula E will eventually makes it way to the company’s consumer models. “We’ve got limited space to [develop hardware], but with the software I think we can exploit that a lot and it’s an area where we’re focusing a lot of our time,” he said.

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