The evolution of electric vehicle racing is taking a big leap forward with the unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show of the Spark-Renault SRT_01E single seater racer. It is at the heart of the planned inaugural FIA Formula E Championship – the world’s first global electric race series beginning in September 2014.

A consortium of leading manufacturers are behind the technology in the SRT_01E, according to Formula E officials. The car’s monocoque chassis has been constructed

by leading Italian firm Dallara and has been aerodynamically designed to aid overtaking. Made from carbon fibre and aluminium, the chassis will fully comply with the 2014 FIA crash tests.

Providing the electric motor, gearbox and electronics is McLaren Electronics Systems, the world leader in high- performance technology for motorsport. Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams group of companies that includes the world famous Williams F1 Team, is responsible for the design and supply of the batteries and their battery management systems; producing 200kw (the equivalent of 270bhp).

Overseeing all the systems integration, performance optimisation and powertrain electrical safety is Formula E’s Technical Partner Renault, a leader in electric vehicles and an expert in motorsport thanks to its Renault Sport Technologies and Renault Sport F1 programmes. Meanwhile, custom made 18-inch treaded tyres have been created by Official Tyre Partner Michelin, with just one durable tyre to cater for both wet and dry conditions and helping to reduce overall costs and promote sustainability.

The vehicle was designed to “push the boundaries of what is currently achievable in electric motorsport, whilst ensuring a balance between cost-effectiveness and sustainability, in addition to coping with the demands of racing entirely on city-centre circuits.” It was 10 months in the making and will initially be used by all 10 teams and 20 drivers in the first season. A total of 42 cars will be produced by Spark, with each driver using two cars during the one hour races.

image via Formula E
image via Formula E

The use of just this one design of electric racing car will change after this, as Formula E was built to be an “open championship” to encourage “manufacturers to build their own car to help accelerate R&D around the electric vehicle.”

“I congratulate all partners involved in the production of the fully-electric SRT_01E car – it is a fantastic achievement,” said FIA President Jean Todt, in a statement. “The innovative technology deployed follows the best environmental practices, highlighting the potential of the Formula E Championship to spark a revolution in the development of new electromobility systems, not just for motorsport but also for everyday use.