Mobility for tomorrow: Schaeffler in the FIA Formula E Championship
Formula E is headed for its second season. [Aug. 28th and 29th], the final pre-season tests are taking place at Donington (GB) before the fully electric single-seater cars will be loaded and shipped to Beijing (CN). When in the heart of the Chinese capital, on October 17, all the red lights are extinguished to start the race, a new era in motorsports will begin 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 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,” says Prof. Peter Gutzmer, who as Chief Technology Officer is responsible for the developments at Schaeffler and was faced with a tight schedule: “The first meetings took place about ten 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 stiffer and more compact transmission that is coordinated with the motor and was produced by the company’s renowned partner Hewland according to special specifications. 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.
“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,” says Gutzmer.
This is a standard to which Schaeffler is committed outside motorsports as well.
“Electric mobility as a whole, including hybrid solutions as well as fully electric driving, will significantly define mobility of the future,” continued Gutzmer. “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.
With the drivers the squad that has officially been entered under the name of ‘ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’ and 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 constructors’ championship in the first season. Lucas di Grassi was in contention for the drivers’ title up to the last of the eleven races. No other race driver mounted the podium during the season as often as the South American sporting the Schaeffler 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 (GB) on the first weekend in July.
The Schaeffler Group is a leading global integrated automotive and industrial supplier. The company stands for the highest quality, outstanding technology, and strong innovative ability. The Schaeffler Group makes a key contribution to “mobility for tomorrow” with high-precision components and systems in engine, transmission, and chassis applications as well as rolling and plain bearing solutions for a large number of industrial applications. The company generated sales of approximately EUR 12.1 bn in 2014. With around 84,000 employees, Schaeffler is one of the world’s largest technology companies in family ownership and, with approximately 170 locations in 50 countries, has a worldwide network of manufacturing locations, research and development facilities, and sales companies.