How fast do Formula E cars go?
…and everything else you need to know about the 99X Electric racecars
TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E 99X Electric cars on track
Formula E has a growing reputation for being one of motorsport’s most entertaining series. With Porsche entering works and customer teams in the all-electric championship, find out all about its hi-tech racecars
Since its debut race in Beijing in 2014, the all-electric ABB FIA Formula E Championship has become one of the most exciting competitions in motorsport for spectators as well as a hub for ground breaking innovation, especially in electrification. The series’ 10th season is now well under way – and once again Porsche race cars will be taking part in the shape of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team and Andretti Formula E customer team.Most of the races are taking place on city street circuits around the world, including a new venue this year – Tokyo – and Shanghai, which returns to the calendar after a four-year hiatus. At the heart of the action are the cars themselves, of course. But how exactly do they work? Whether you’re a newcomer to Formula E or want to know more about the cars’ technology, our guide to Formula E racing has the answers.1 Which car does Porsche race in Formula E?The car that Porsche Formula E teams drive is the 99X Electric Gen3, which made its debut last year. As the name suggests, it’s the third generation of Formula E car to be used. The 11 Formula E teams share the same chassis, battery and tyres. The main variable is powertrains, which teams can provide and develop themselves – like Porsche.Refined at the Porsche Weissach Development Centre near Stuttgart, the Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 car has to adhere to the strict racing regulations lay down by motorsport’s governing body, the FIA, including their exact specifications on car weight and tyre specs – which we will come to later. In one major leap from its predecessor, the 99X Electric Gen3 car now features a dual powertrain with both front and rear engagement, raising its race power to 408PS, with a boost to 476PS during qualifying and Attack Mode. Additionally, it boasts a revamped regenerative capacity of 600kW, up from 250 kW previously, with more than 40 per cent of its energy recuperated via regenerative braking.
Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 racing car on track in Tokyo
Pascal Wehrlein in his TAG Heuer Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 racecar at the inaugural Japanese E-Prix, held in Tokyo in March 2024 | PHOTO: Porsche
2 How fast do Formula E cars go?Motorsport is all about being the first to the finish line – and the Formula E delivers that in spectacular fashion. Generally speaking, Formula E cars are more than capable of hitting top speeds of up to 320km/h, although the tight corners and short straights of the series’ street circuits mean that these are rarely reached in races. Instead, the emphasis is on quick acceleration and agility – which, as most of us know, is something that electric cars are great at. Formula E’s speed benchmarks and records are determined by average race speeds rather than top speeds. The most recent record for this was set at the race in Cape Town in 2023, when Formula E’s fastest race was run at an average speed of 132.2km/h.The focus on acceleration over top speed is also evident in the performance figures, with cars capable of going from 0-100km/h in around 2.8 seconds. This rapid acceleration is a hallmark of electric vehicles, due to the instant torque available from the electric motors. This is crucial for overtaking manoeuvres and quick starts in the tightly contested races of the Formula E championship.3 How much does a Formula E car weigh?Just like engine design and power output, weight is a critical factor in the performance of Formula E cars, balancing the need for speed with safety and efficiency standards. Every Formula E car must adhere to a minimum weight requirement set by the FIA. For the Gen3 era of Formula E cars, that is set at 840kg – including the driver. This is compared to its Gen2 predecessor’s 903 kg. The new, lighter weight means that the car can do a better job of navigating the narrow track, exercising the needed degree of agility for winning races and staying firmly planted to the track.
Close-up of TAG Heuer Porsche 99X Gen3 front wing
Formula E cars are shorter and narrower than their Formula 1 counterparts. It makes them nimble and agile, perfect for the tight street circuits that the Formula E series chiefly competes on | PHOTO: Porsche
4 How big is a Formula E car?Like a Formula 1 car, the Formula E car is a single-seater, open-wheel racecar. But, compared to Formula 1 cars – which have to handle the wide, sprawling, often historic, race circuits that dominate that competition – the dimensions of a Formula E car are much more compact. They are designed with the tight, twisty street circuits that characterise the Formula E championship in mind. The 99X Electric Gen3 racecars run by every team are 5016mm long, 1023mm high and 1700mm wide. Compared to the Gen2 version, the current car’s wheelbase was shortened to 2970mm, making it the lightest and shortest to date – as well as the fastest.5 What is Attack Mode in Formula E?To further differentiate the Formula E series from other motorsport events, the FIA introduced a special, game-like car boost from the fifth season of the championship called Attack Mode.Attack Mode helps add a strategic layer to the races, increasing the excitement and unpredictability of the competition. Activated by driving through what are called Activation Zones – which are usually located off the ideal racing line – Attack Mode temporarily boosts a car’s power output by 68PS, giving drivers an extra surge of speed and raising the total power output to up to 476PS for a limited time. This boost allows the driver to make strategic plays to either catch up or pull away from the competition and can be activated via a dedicated button on the steering wheel.
Close-up of TAG Heuer Porsche 99X Electric rear wheel
The tyres used in every 99X Electric Formula E racecar are all-weather and are recycled after the races in line with the series’ strict environmental standards | PHOTO: Porsche
6 How much does a Formula E car cost?The exact cost of an individual Formula E car remains a closely guarded secret, fluctuating due to development, production and operational costs for each team. What is known, however, is the FIA-enforced spending limit per car (known as part of the cost cap), which for 2024 is in the region of €890,000.
Porsche Taycan Turbo S Formula E Safety Car on track
The current official Formula E safety car is a Porsche Taycan Turbo S, seen here at the São Paulo E-Prix in Brazil in March 2024 | PHOTO: Porsche
7 Which safety car is used in Formula E?From the start of the 2022 season, the role of Formula E Safety Car has been taken up by a Porsche Taycan Turbo S. The new road-going version of the fully-electric Porsche sports car has a maximum power output of 952PS and can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 2.4 seconds – the perfect choice for the job, in other words.
Limited edition TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 – Porsche Edition watch
To celebrate the first ever Japanese E-Prix, TAG Heuer teamed up with Porsche to create a Tokyo-inspired timepiece with a watch face in neon blue and pink | PHOTO: Porsche
8 Which tyres does a Formula E car use?From Season 9 onwards, Formula E cars use Hankook Tyres. The tyres are made from natural rubber and recycled fibres and are capable of performing in all weather conditions – so there is no need for the specialised slicks, intermediates or wets used by Formula 1. Like every other car on the grid, the tyres used by the Porsche 99X Electric in each race are recycled afterwards.9 What inspires the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team liveries?The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team has really made a name for itself with its liveries, with certain races inspiring bespoke versions. For example, to celebrate the first ever Formula E race in Japan in March 2024, a dazzling new racing livery for its 99X Electric racecar took to the circuit. The bright neon pink brought an extra pop of colour to the track and was inspired by the rich racing and car culture of Tokyo, as well as the vibrancy of the city itself.Complementing the livery, TAG Heuer simultaneously introduced the Japanese e-Prix- inspired TAG Heuer Connected Calibre E4 – Porsche Edition watch, with unique blue and pink dial customisation options. It’s yet another example of the exciting and colourful world that is Formula E racing.
Consumption and emission information Taycan Turbo S (WLTP): Electric energy consumption combined: 20,5 - 17,9 kWh/100 km; CO₂ emissions combined: 0 g/km; CO₂ class: A.
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