Lucid Motors has revealed its involvement as a supplier for the Formula E racing series. After providing full-race capable batteries to the series' Gen 2 cars, Lucid's compact and energy dense motors can now be found in every FE car on the grid.
Lucid's motors, essentially scaled-down versions of the ones found across the Air range, sit ahead of the driver's feet and between the front wheels of Formula E's new Gen 3 race cars. With all-wheel drive featuring in the formula for the first time, Lucid's motors are tasked with harvesting energy from regenerative braking (up to 250 kW) as well as producing horsepower.
Lucid's Formula E motors are much the same as those found in the Lucid Air Sapphire.
Up to 469 horsepower, from a 'drive unit' that combines motor, inverter, differential and transmission, and weighs just 70.5 lbs. (32 kg). That gives a power-to-weight ratio of 14.7 hp/kg, or 6.6 hp/lb. To put that in perspective the 330 lb., 1000 horsepower engine and hybrid system in a 2022 F1 car makes about 3.03 hp/lb.
Like the dearly departed F1 V10s, Lucid's FE motor can spin to 19,500 rpm.
That exceptional density's down to Lucid's proprietary technology. Its Formula E motors are produced in-house and feature the continuous wave winding and microjet cooling system found in every Lucid Air motor.
“For Lucid, the transfer of technology between motorsports and road cars is a two-way symbiosis. 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.”
The front motors contribute to a total of 600 kW regeneration capacity for Formula E's Gen 3 cars, which do away with mechanical rear brakes altogether. This isn't Lucid's first rodeo in international EV motorsport, as it provided the 54 kWh batteries that allowed Gen 2 cars to complete a full race on one charge and eliminated the need for each driver to run two cars in a race.
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How much technology trickles down into road cars from Formula E remains to be seen, and in this case one could argue that flow's going the other way. Regardless, Lucid's involvement as a supplier in top-flight international motorsport is a testament to the quality of its proprietary technology. Now it just needs to nail mass-production, competing with Tesla, fielding a more affordable offering, the list goes on. It's on solid footing though, so fingers crossed.
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James Walker is an Automotive Journalist at Torque News focusing on Lucid Motors. If it's got wheels he's interested, and he's looking forward to seeing what kind of cars the EV revolution brings us. Whether it's fast, slow, new, or old, James wants to have a look around it and share it in print and on video, ideally with some twisty roads involved. You can connect with James on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.