As Formula E Season 9 is underway, Lucid Group, the parent company of Lucid Motors, revealed that the front drive unit used on the brand new Gen Three cars is made entirely by Lucid. While the motor won’t be used in a traction capacity (it won’t drive the front wheels), it will be used to regenerate energy back into the battery pack of these all-electric open wheel race cars. Even so, the technology used to create these powerful regeneration motors were developed by Lucid for its road-going cars like the Air before being transferred into its motorsports capacity.
First, if you want to get an idea of just how powerful the regenerative braking is on these new Gen Three Formula E cars, they no longer use a hydraulic brake system on the rear wheels. In combination with the 496 hp Lucid motorsports motor connected to the front wheels, the 805 hp rear drive motor, and front hydraulic brake system is more than powerful enough to stop these cars that have a top speed of nearly 200 mph.
When both motors work together during regenerative braking, they have a capability to recharge the batteries with 600 kW of energy back into its 900 volt battery pack system. This was also good enough to allow Formula E to reduce the battery capacity to 51 kWh (Gen Two was 54 kWh, the Gen One was only 28 kWh).
This capacity reduction also aided in the Gen Three’s overall weight reduction, going from 1,984 pounds to 1,852 pounds. What’s even more amazing is that, despite adding in a new front motor on the Formula E Gen Three cars, the Lucid front drive unit is only 70.5 pounds while still providing that 469 hp and a maximum rotor speed of 19,500 rpm. According to Lucid, this new front motor is also using the same proprietary technology found in Lucid’s street-going cars like its high-voltage continuous wave winding, microjet cooling, and more. Just like those street motors, this motorsports drive unit is entirely built by Lucid at its Newark, California headquarters.
Another added bonus from the new 900 volt battery pack is the ability to use a 600 kW charger during pitstops at later rounds of Formula Es Season 9, known as Attack Charge rounds. These pitstops will be a first since the introduction of the Gen Two cars, in which its 54 kWh battery pack allowed for a single car to be used during the entire race length of 45 minutes. For Season Nine, Formula E no longer does timed races and instead uses a set number of laps for each race as well as allowing for full-course cautions and added laps.
Here’s another interesting tidbit about Lucid and Formula E: this isn’t their first time working together. That 54 kWh battery pack used initially by Formula E on the Gen Two was made using cells from Lucid during the 2018 to 2019 season and they continued to create battery packs for these cars in conjunction with McLaren Applied Technologies and Sony.
Lucid hasn’t detailed if these motorsports drive units will be available to other teams or individuals outside of Formula E. However, with electric conversions becoming more and more popular for classics and some modern vehicles, we can’t help but hope that Lucid will produce a “crate motor” at some point in the future. It would be a horrible waste to not see this small, lightweight, 469 hp motor dropped into someone’s EV project.
Additional images provided by Getty
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