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Revealed: McLaren to use Sony cell technology in new Formula E battery

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Revealed: McLaren to use Sony cell technology in new Formula E battery
By:
Oct 8, 2016, 12:21 PM

Motorsport.com has uncovered additional details on significant partners that will deliver technology for the next generation of battery used by the FIA Formula E Championship.

McLaren logo
Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing
Jose Maria Lopez, DS Virgin Racing
FIA flag
Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing
Stéphane Sarrazin, Venturi
Sony HD 500
Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing
Maro Engel, Venturi
McLaren logo

McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT), which won the tender to supply the next generation battery, will use cell technology from Sony to produce the hardware which will see teams slimming down to one car per driver from 2018 onward.

Motorsport.com revealed in August that McLaren and Sony were working together on the tender application.

McLaren has also been working with the Murata Manufacturing company that supplies Apple, which has recently been linked to a potential partnership with the McLaren Group.

Murata purchased Sony’s battery technology for an undisclosed fee earlier this year. The Japanese company is the world’s biggest supplier of energy-storing ceramic capacitors.

Murata wants to use Sony’s battery technology, utilised chiefly for power stations and smartphones and in automotive industry applications, to charge electric cars.

The strategy employed by Murata is believed to be part of a long-term view to rival Panasonic, which makes batteries for Tesla’s electric cars and is also a major partner of the Jaguar Racing Formula E team.

Electrical giant SAFT Group is also believed, but yet to be confirmed, to be a partner of McLaren Applied Technologies for the new Formula E battery.

SAFT was bought by Total earlier this year for $1.1 billion in a move designed to accelerate Total's motivation to invest in renewables and electrical storage technology.

FIA impressed with McLaren battery management

MAT has already begun work on design aspects of the season five battery which is set to have more energy and be significantly lighter than the current battery.

Speaking to Motorsport.com in Hong Kong, Professor Burkhard Goeschel, President of the FIA Electric and New Energies Championships Commission said: “We had to have a deeper look in to the chemistry and the performance of the cells.

"We put in experts to evaluate the chemical capabilities of the applicants in cell technology and if they could cope with the performance of a Formula E car, which is a very strong burden for a cell as you are accelerating and decelerating constantly.”

One of the key areas in which McLaren showed the FIA their capabilities was in the battery management system of McLaren is believed to be a highly sophisticated component .

“The management system was very impressive,” said Goeschel, who led and presided over the tender procedure for the new battery supply.

“I think it was the best solution in terms of future technology to go with the McLaren package. But the safety, which is very important of course, and the performance of what they can deliver was also very impressive and reassuring.”

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About this article

Series Formula E
Author Sam Smith