The fifth season of Formula E starts this weekend in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – but it really marks a new beginning for the electric single-seater championship.
That’s due to the arrival of the new Gen2 race car, which is more powerful and features a larger battery, increasing speeds and allowing cars to complete an entire race without pitstops.
Here’s what to watch for this season.
Technical changes: Formula E’s new Gen2 race car
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship's new Gen2 car, officially called the Spark SRT05E, replaces the Spark SRT_01E that has been in use since the inaugural season in 2014-15.
Aside from new styling, aerodynamics and safety systems (including a halo cockpit protection device), the most notable change is that the cars will be more powerful.
Since Formula E’s second season, teams have been allowed to build their own powertrain with a maximum of 180bhp (240bhp in boost mode), but for the new car that has been increased to 250bhp (335bhp in boost mode).
The extra power will increase top speeds from 140mph to 174mph and trim 0-62mph times by 0.2sec down to 2.8sec.
The Gen2 also features a new McLaren Applied Technologies-built 54kWh battery, replacing the 28kWh unit in the old car. The extra power means that cars can now last for the entire race, ending the need for mid-race car swaps. The Gen2 machine also gets a new brake-by-wire system that improves regenerative braking.
The new battery weighs 385kg, compared to 320kg previously, but with weight savings made elsewhere, the minimum weight of the cars has been increased by only 20kg, to a total of 900kg.