A scorching double-header race weekend in New York brought the curtain down on Season 5 of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, after a breathless 12-stop world tour that began with the inaugural Saudi E-Prix last December.
The season, ABB’s first full year as championship title partner, saw the introduction of the new ‘Gen2’ racecar, that features greatly improved battery technology, among a number of other changes to the cars’ technical specification and the race format. The ‘Gen2’ is more powerful, more efficient and significantly faster than its predecessor, thanks largely to the enhanced battery specification.
The ‘Gen2’ allowed 45-minute races to be completed on a single battery charge, meaning that the racecars’ efficiency had almost doubled in less than four years. In previous seasons every driver had to swap cars mid-race to reach the checkered flag.
Another first was the introduction of the Jaguar I-Pace eTROPHY support races. This pioneering championship used Jaguar’s multi-award-winning all-electric I-PACE SUV as the base vehicle for a racing version of the same car and the fleet relied year-long on custom-made ABB Terra 53 chargers for power. Jaguar’s commitment to e-mobility through its double electric-racing program was honored at the series’ end-of-season gala, with the award of the ABB Formula E ‘Climate Champion’ prize.
The ABB Formula championship continues to be a technological showcase for ABB. “We can’t solve the challenges of noise and air pollution on our own. But by promoting EVs through ABB Formula E as part of an integrated ecosystem of solutions, we can go a long way toward the future of sustainable transportation,” says Tarak Mehta, President of ABB's Electrification business.
Competition was intense throughout the year, with eight drivers from eight teams winning the first eight races. But by season’s end, defending champion Jean-Éric Verge prevailed, to become the first multiple ABB Formula E champion. His Techeetah squad won the teams’ title.
Chasing Vergne hard to the line was ABB Formula E ambassador and Nissan e.DAMS driver Sébastien Buemi, who finished as title runner-up , along with his (and Nissan’s) first season win in the New York race, which made him the year’s ninth different winner. The strong closeout sets up Buemi and Nissan as leading Season 6 title contenders.
Hopes are high that Season 6, which begins in mid-November, will deliver even more excitement and spectacle, as premium car makers Porsche and Mercedes join the fray to display their own expertise in this leading-edge e-mobility contest.
A new race destination, South Korea’s capital Seoul, will give the championship further presence in Asia, alongside two Chinese rounds and the championship will return to London, with a new venue at the ExCel Arena, for the twin-race finale in July 2020.
Season 6 of the ABB Formula E championship will continue to showcase the benefits of sustainable transport to audiences worldwide.