Audi has unveiled its first ever all-electric racing car following the integration of the Abt Schaffler program that ran in Formula E’s first three seasons. Season four will see both the debut of the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler e-tron FE04 as well as that of new team principal Allan McNish. The former LMP1 factory driver had already accompanied and supported the team at the race tracks throughout the third season.
“After nearly 40 years of being successfully active in motorsport on the highest level, we are now the first German automobile manufacturer to compete in Formula E in order to test and advance the development of new technologies for production,” said Peter Mertens, member of the board of management, technical development, Audi AG. “Following quattro, TFSI, TDI, hybrid drive and many other innovations, our first single-seater race car is a portent of our product offensive in the field of electric mobility that we are ringing in with e-tron in 2018.”
The e-tron FE04 has a redesigned drivetrain that utilizes a similar single-speed gearbox arrangement, much like Renault e.dams used last season and Mahindra Racing will adopt for the 2017/8 season. The German OEM states that the engineers primarily focus in designing the motor-generator unit was for ‘ever greater efficiency’.
“Together with our technology partner Schaeffler, we have developed a completely new powertrain,” added head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass. “You can immediately tell this by looking at the new carbon housing of the powertrain. The car also sounds different because we’re pursuing new avenues in technology.”
The new livery, featuring white, metallic green and black as the basic colours visually distinguishes the Audi e-tron FE04 at first glance clearly from the distinctive red, yellow and green colours of the outgoing Abt Schaffler team that won the Formula E championship title in July.
Audi has also announced that Daniel Abt has been signed as an Audi factory driver, and will pilot the Audi e-tron FE04 on its racing debut at the Formula E season opener in Hong Kong on December 2, 2017.