How Formula E pushes DS Automobiles' electrification forward

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How Formula E pushes DS Automobiles' electrification forward

DS is one of the most decorated outfits in Formula E history. Two double titles, a points-scoring high and 16 victories - the latest at the hands of Jean-Eric Vergne in Hyderabad - make sure of that. Its competition on track is vital to the French automaker's development off it. Here's how.

DS Hyderabad

Competition at a world-class level and fighting for World Championship silverware provides DS with a "true open air laboratory", it says, which accelerates innovation both in terms of hardware and software on the EVs it sells to the public. 

The pressure-cooker of this top tier sprint between DS Performance and 10 other leading teams, in the foremost electric racing series on the planet, feeds into the ultra-high performance powertrains - operating at more than 97% efficiency - as well as the cutting-edge software that provides the "brain" for its GEN3 car - the DS E-TENSE FE23.

Vergne wins the Hyderabad Formula E E-Prix

The company's says this forms an important source of technology transfer that can be achieved with relatively contained costs compared to production of physical parts. This is particularly the case with what it can learn over a season and beyond when it comes to optimising regenerative braking.

It's important to be fast to win in Formula E, but also to recuperate energy under braking in the most efficient way possible. To achieve this, the engineers from the competition arm of DS Automobiles design algorithms that optimise this important element of competition. Then, everything that DS Performance learns about software through its Formula E campaign is useful knowledge for the development teams working on road-going E-TENSE models from DS Automobiles.


Direct from race track to road

The DS 7 E-TENSE 4x4 360 uses energy recovery software that comes directly from Formula E. This is even more efficient than the system used on previous models and optimises management by analysing the pressure exerted on the brake pedal to offer unprecedented braking characteristics - software intelligence is key, and what the company's learned on-track in Formula E has been the driver of this improvement. It's cost-effective R&D, too.

"Motorsport is a vital research and development tool," says Eugenio Franzetti, DS Performance director. "This is why DS Automobiles chose the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship to electrify its range. The experience gathered over the course of many seasons was and still is very useful for the development of today’s and tomorrow’s road cars. A clear example of this is energy recovery under braking, which is studied and pushed to the limit in Formula E, then transferred to all our electric road car models.”

“Energy efficiency is what makes the difference between the cars in Formula E and this is largely dependent on the software that manages regenerative braking, the inverter, and the battery," adds Yves Bonnefont, Chief Software Officer Stellantis. "These days, it's easy to transfer these technologies from competition to road-going electric cars as there are no problems with cost. It’s a step that is financially transparent and also delivers some incredible advances in technology.”