Lucid to supply the front electric drives for Gen3 Formula E cars

The US electric car manufacturer Lucid Motors has revealed itself as the supplier of the front electric motors in the current Gen3 racing cars of Formula E. The drive unit now presented by Lucid for motorsport has an output of 350 kW and consists of a motor, inverter, differential and gearbox.

The concept of Gen3 racing cars with an electric motor on the front axle was first presented in April 2022, when it was already confirmed that it would be a standard component for all manufacturers, to be used only for recuperation. The electric drive on the rear axle is therefore solely responsible for propulsion – the manufacturers continue to develop this drive unit themselves.

But: While at the time there was talk of 250 kW recuperation power of the front motor, Lucid now states 350 kW – of which, however, only 250 kW can be used by software. The unit is trimmed for lightweight construction and weighs only 32 kilograms with all its components. The rotor can reach up to 19,500 revolutions per minute.

The development took place entirely in-house at Lucid, as did the production. “For Lucid, the transfer of technology between motorsports and road cars is a two-way symbiosis,” says CEO and CTO Peter Rawlinson. “This new motorsports drive unit builds directly upon the groundbreaking powertrain technology developed in-house by Lucid and proven on the road in every Lucid Air. I’m excited by the prospect that some of the technical advancements introduced may in turn make their way to future Lucid road cars.”

As mentioned, since the Lucid motor-generator unit may only be used for recuperation, it is part of the complex braking system of the Gen3 race cars in Formula E. On the front axle, there are disc brakes for deceleration in addition to the Lucid unit. In addition, the rear drive units developed by the respective manufacturers contribute their part to the deceleration via recuperation. On the rear axle, apart from a backup system used only in an emergency, there is no disc brake.

However, due to the short test and development time, there was also criticism of the elaborate braking system. There were some unusual accidents during the test drives in Valencia and also the first race of the season in Mexico. How short the development time was is also shown by the fact that the race cars in Mexico were still running without the backup disc brake on the rear axle. This system was only ready for the double-header in Saudi Arabia this weekend., (emergency brakes)


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