F1 supplier Magneti Marelli building Formula E motors for 2016/17

Formula 1 supplier Magneti Marelli wants to build motors for at least two Formula E teams for season three of the all-electric championship

F1 supplier Magneti Marelli building Formula E motors for 2016/17

The Italian company, which provides technical support to multiple F1 teams for their energy-recovery systems, is already involved in Formula E as a telemetry supplier to the FIA.

McLaren Applied Technologies built the electric motor used by all teams in the first season of Formula E, but the regulations have been opened up for season two to allow multiple suppliers.

Magneti Marelli wants to join that list in season three. It started its project at the end of 2014, and had a prototype - comprising a six-phase motor generator unit (MGU), two control units (CU), a control software platform (VCU) and a data logger - built in September this year.

It is due to finish a dyno-based testing programme in December and hopes to be in a position to supply as many as three teams with the completed motor in early 2016.

As part of the five-year Formula E road map the amount of energy available from the battery will increase from 28kWh to 32kWh for the 2016/17 campaign, while the peak power output will rise from 200kW to 250kW.

Magneti Marelli motorsport director Roberto Dalla explained the motor, which is claimed to have an efficiency of up to 95.5 per cent, has been built with these regulation changes in mind.

"The new rules for season three significantly increase power levels in comparison, so all teams needs to adopt a new powertrain if they want to stay competitive," he told Autosport.

"This was strategically the best time for us to step in the championship with a high-performance system.

"The involvement in the championship was evaluated since the beginning but the technology restrictions enforced in the first seasons have shifted our target to new technical challenges open from the new technical rules."

The minimum weight for the Formula E car, complete with the driver, will be reduced from 888kg to 850kg for season four (2017-18).

Magneti Marelli's hybrid systems development project leader Andrea Dappiano believes this will help the appeal of his company's motor, which at 23.1kg is three kilograms lighter than the original-specification McLaren equivalent.

Comparing the Formula E project with his experience helping teams with their ERS systems in F1, Dappiano said: "The new challenge was mainly linked to the relevant power and torque the system has to deliver with heavy duty cycles of use, nearly 100 per cent of laptime.

"A full electric powertrain is much more demanding in this aspect in comparison with former ERS-K, ERS-H projects.

"The main focus was targeting how to obtain the highest efficiency possible with today's technologies, and give the teams the possibility of having a regenerative phase during braking very effective which can sustain the battery state-of-charge during race.

"The second focus was the system weight: minimum weight will become a tight target to obtain and our lightweight design can help in this area."

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