Audi’s first ever all-electric race car broke cover in a special event held in Neuburg, Germany. Christened as the e-tron FE04, the electric racer will make its debut in the 2017/2018 season in December this year.
This isn’t Audi’s first involvement in Formula E. The German carmaker has been sponsoring the Abt Schaeffler team since the last three seasons. Now after giving up their Le Mans campaign earlier this year, Audi has shifted focus to open-wheeled electric series Formula E. The e-tron FE04 marks Audi’s debut as a fully-fledged factory-supported effort.
In the Formula E, the cars share the same chassis but the powertrain is developed by the teams and manufacturers. So the e-tron FE04 has ditched the three-speed transmission for a single-speed system. Similar to the FE02 of Abt Schaeffler team from the previous season, the Fe04 will produce about 266bhp and will be capable of accelerating from 0-100kmph in 3.5seconds.
Audi has retained the defending Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi as the factory driver. He’ll be joined by his young teammate Daniel Abt whose race car will be highlighted in an additional red colour to distinguish between the two cars. Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt have been forming a strong driver duo in Formula E. In the 33 races held to date they have achieved 24 podiums, six victories and four pole positions. Both are participating in their fourth Formula E season. The team principal will be Allan McNish retained from the Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler.
Formula E is gaining a lot of attention from major manufacturers lately. The electric racing programme already has Renault and Mahindra with Jaguar and DS joining the lot last year. BMW too sponsors the Andretti Autosport team but has plans of entering as a factory team next season. Mercedes and Porsche are eyeing the championship as well.
The 2017/2018 season kicks off in Hong Kong on 2 December. But ahead of the track debut, the e-tron FE04 could be seen testing in the upcoming weeks.