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Water Today Title November 19, 2018

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Update 2017/7/20
Montréal ePrix

FORMULA-E CHAMPIONSHIP MONTRÉAL, VIRGIN TEAM PART 1




Virgin Team
Photo: Virgin Chief Technoloy, Fillippi




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Our gearhead sent questions to the Virgin design team. Sylvain Filippi, Chief Technology Officer got back.


WT
the vehicles are all the same if i have this right, i would like to know what your designers think of that? i would see it as a bit of a disadvantage being that i feel i could design a better car than someone else.

Filippi
Formula E was only a single make series in season one, since then all the powertrain (and associates electronics and software) and rear suspension, have become open. This makes a lot of sense as there is no need for Formula E to work on aerodynamics, the whole point of the series is to develop EV technologies, so the FIA roadmap is designed accordingly. Battery development will open up in the future as well, but I believe we will see a common chassis in Formula E for a long time.



Virgin Formula E car
Photo: Virgin

WT
From a car designer point of view, are the g forces inside the car reaching human endurance limits? I'm thinking if i went 220 into a corner and came out at 45 that is an almost impossible thing to deal with.

Filippi
G-forces are not as high as Formula 1 for example, since we race on city circuits where the average corner speeds are slower. However, Formula E cars are still very challenging to drive, because of the low grip of these city tracks, and the high torque of electric motors.

WT
the cars charging set up is a mystery to us, no single battery holds the same charge as another battery, how does your team ensure that they are the same as any other car. is it software? could you tell us about this?

Filippi
This problem does not exist in Formula E as all the batteries have a higher capacity than the 28kWh we are allowed per car. This means that it is impossible for a team to charge the battery more than another, all batteries are fully charged (which can be circa 30kWh) and the FIA then monitors during the race through live telemetry that no car is using more than 28kWh per stint.

WT
the two cars thing, in racing's early days it wasn't uncommon for a team to bring two cars how does that work. if i have more charge left than another racer, do i go another lap and use the second car more aggressively? could you tell us about this sort of switching set up.

Filippi
Race strategy is very complex in Formula E, since we have to take into account the energy, battery temperature and obviously all the sporting events happening on track (safety cars etc). We have a sophisticated strategy model that helps us to anticipate as much as possible so we can react quickly and make the right decisions.



Virgin Team
Photo: Virgin

WT
in the medias, there is a fair amount of chatter about high speed charging, in motion charging can you tell us where as a designer you think this is going? part of the allure of formula one is the pit crews, the gassing up this kind of thing.

Filippi
Mass adoption of EVs will come thanks to larger capacity batteries (allowing 200+ miles range) and fast charging on motorways. The combination of the two means that EVs can do everything that an ICE car can do, while keeping all the advantages of electric mobility. Wireless charging can be beneficial in some circumstances, such as on-street public parking for example, but currently it does not allow very fast charging and there are loss of efficiencies which means that it is using more electricity than wired charging for the same amount of energy put into the car.

WT
the spark uses lithium batteries i think, can you tell us how hot the cockpits are in your cars? is there really one set of tires per car>? i read that Michelin is trying to develop better tires, i don't get the tire story ,they aren't inflatable, they are solid tires? some on this would be very helpful. any brake modifications.

Filippi
Approx 60 degrees C. Michelin have developed a tyre than can last the entire day, so drivers use one set of tyres for Free Practice, Qualifying and the Race. The challenge was to develop a tyre with high mechanical grip, low rolling resistance and high durability.

WT
your sponsor name is well known, I'm hoping you can tell me what Richard thinks of this experience as an owner, how much does all this cost. your in formula e for next season as well ... Would like to frame the sponsorship deal for the viewer. as i don't know very much about the business side of this, any help here would be great.

Filippi
Virgin decided to enter Formula E as the ethos of the championship is perfectly aligned with ours, i.e. disrupt industries for the better, in this case through technical innovation. Virgin is committed to fight climate change, and mass adoption of EVs will have an immense positive direct impact on global emissions, particularly in cities where most people live and currently breathe heavily polluted air.

This story is brought to you in part by Lawson Mills Biomass Solutions Ltd








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