As an entirely new second-generation of Formula E electric race cars is about to be unveiled for the 2019 season, it raises the question of what happens to the first-generation models that have been used for the last four seasons. Although they’re not being officially marketed by Formula E, the 40 cars that are about to be superceded are being put up for sale through word of mouth.
Unlike Formula 1, where all the cars are built and owned by the individual teams, Formula E bought and owns all 40 of the first-generation electric racing cars itself. When the first-gen models were originally purchased, Formula E paid around 16 million euros ($18.4 million) for them, which worked out at about 400,000 euros or $460,000 each. Like most used cars, they’re not going to fetch as much as Formula E paid for them, but they’re still not going to be what anyone would call cheap.
Even though some of them will have presumably competed in all four seasons, it’s believed they are being offered for sale for somewhere between $200,000 and $289,000 each. Although every car is identical in terms of its chassis and battery, the individual resale values are likely to be determined by victories, sentiment and other factors.
The cars are being replaced because battery technology has moved on considerably in the last four years, so the second-generation cars will be able to complete in an entire 45-minute race on a single charge. Thanks to new batteries being supplied by McLaren Applied Technologies with twice the capacity of the first-generation units, the 2019 Formula E season will no longer see drivers having to swap cars when the battery runs out because there obviously wasn’t time in a race to recharge.
Both the first and second-generation cars have been built by a company called Spark Racing Technology, and its CEO Theophile Gouzin told Bloomberg: “Today, the competition is on the powertrains, the motor controller and the gear box.” He went on to stress that by focusing on efficiency and increasing range through racing, those participating and partnering with Formula E hope to catch up with Tesla in the ongoing development of electric vehicles for all applications.
Formula E’s second-generation cars will race for the first time at the opening round of the 2019 season 5 in December at Ad Diriyah in Saudi Arabia.