As a pioneer in the electric car racing championship, Formula E opens up the possibility to adopt technologies that are increasingly relevant to the automotive market. Recently, Formula E has stated that it is considering alternative technology as its power source. After using batteries as an energy source, hydrogen power is seen as a potential alternative.
Hydrogen is said to be a quite possible alternative to be adopted into Formula E racing cars, especially when switching to Gen4 cars. This plan was expressed with quite serious intention by Alejandro Agag, co-founder of Formula E.
Agag wants the racing championship he manages to be more relevant to road car technology. In addition, he wants Formula E to become a laboratory for the development of new technologies that can be transferred to industry in the future. Especially considering the fact that the popularity of electric vehicles is getting higher in the world automotive market.
“Hydrogen is under license in Formula E with the FIA. There are two ways to use hydrogen, one of which is to burn hydrogen, but some people are trying to make it more efficient,” said Agag.
“The other way, which we are going to use, is a hydrogen fuel cell which basically generates electricity which then powers an electric motor. So once the technology becomes widely available and operational at racing level, we will certainly review it.”
Formula E is currently using the Gen2 Evo car, which is an evolutionary version of the Gen2 that has been used since the 2018-2019 season. And soon, the championship that has just been abandoned by Audi and BMW will shift to a new car that applies Gen3 regulations. This season is believed to be the last time a Gen2 car is used.
A switch to hydrogen power technology would be an attractive strategy to increase the attractiveness of Formula E. One of the most difficult hurdles to overcome for pure electric systems is battery recharging. This can be effectively overcome by the adoption of hydrogen fuel cells which can regenerate energy almost instantly. Gen4 cars are planned to be ready for regulation in about five years.
Formula E had been in the spotlight because its relatively small battery capacity showed the weakness of the electric-powered drive system. In Gen1 cars, each racer is required to change cars in the middle of the race in order to reach the finish, because the battery cannot reach the full distance of the race. This was overcome in Gen2 cars that can be used during the race, from start to finish.