A charging glitch on the new Gen 2 Formula E battery was notified to teams and addressed by supplier McLaren Applied Technologies in the early stages of the current ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
The problem, which e-racing365 believes concerned a memory board part, was sporadically causing charging issues in the new units.
It is understood that initially no replacement parts or an easy fix were possible before the Ad Diriyah E-Prix in December and teams were notified that the battery would need to be changed if the problem manifested itself.
The need to change a battery is believed to have been addressed as MAT then had sufficient spare batteries on-site at the Saudi circuit.
Teams were able to manage and work around the issue which they were fully informed about by MAT prior to leaving for the season opener. The issue did not directly affect teams during the running in Ad Diriyah.
“Unless you got unlucky and caught it end of second practice, it would have been OK to swap for a charged one before the next session without a massive problem,” one senior e-racing365 source explained.
No serious issues regarding the problem came to light during the weekend but units were taken back by MAT for modifications between Ad Diriyah and the next round in Marrakesh in January.
It is believed that changing the new battery, which is fixed in from underneath the chassis, takes 30-40 minutes.
Praise for New Battery Design
The new MAT-supplied battery package, which provides almost twice the useable energy as the Gen 1 unit, has received largely universal praise since its introduction.
Providing 52 kWh of usable energy for the new Gen 2 car, the new battery deals with a peak power output of 200 kW for the race and 250 kW for qualifying.
It weighs just 385 kg, therefore gaining 95 percent more energy for just 20 percent more weight over the previous version.
The cell construction itself has been formed by Californian technology company Atieva which, along with MAT, has specialist support staff attending Formula E races.
Teams have indicated to e-racing365 that they are satisfied with the outcome of MAT’s analysis of the early season issue and the way it was communicated and addressed.
“[MAT] have actually done the right thing and offered the info up ahead of the first race,” a paddock insider told e-racing365.
“It would have been easy to say nothing and have one or two failures and come up with a magic fix for Marrakesh but they didn’t do that.”