Formula E is halfway through its cycle for Gen3 cars and plans are underway for the upcoming Gen4 racer. However, the series isn’t waiting until this all-new electric car is ready to hit the track to debut some significant improvements to the current model. Ahead of this weekend’s Monaco E-Prix, Formula E debuts what it calls the Gen3 Evo, the world’s fastest-accelerating FIA single-seater by current standards. The series also introduced bodywork changes aimed at improving aerodynamics and durability, particularly at the nose, along with all-wheel drive (AWD) for the first time on a Formula E car.

Formula E says the Gen3 Evo is capable of accelerating a full second faster than the Gen3 version, going from 0 to 60 mph in 1.82 seconds (0-100 km/h in 1.86 seconds). He explained that this time is 30 percent faster than a 2024 Formula 1 car and 36 percent faster than the Gen3 EV currently used in racing. These numbers are not theoretical either: the series has already achieved the standards at the circuit in Misano, Italy.

“It’s not simulated, it’s real,” Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds told Engadget. “It was actually measured by the FIA ​​at that speed.” Dodds added that there are some “slight changes” in some areas, but the Gen3 Evo should still hit 60 mph in less than two seconds when it debuts on the track for races next year.

A key aspect of this unlocked acceleration is the use of AWD on a Formula E car for the first time. The series debuted dual drives with the Gen3, but until now the front one was only used for battery regeneration. AWD will only be used during the later rounds of qualifying (head-to-head), the start of the race and when a driver has activated attack mode during the race. Besides acceleration, drivers should have better control and more traction when AWD is active. Plus, it completely changes team strategy and can lead to even more exciting races.

“One of the occasional criticisms I hear is that Attack Mode doesn’t make a big enough difference,” Dodds said. “I think with all-wheel drive, that’s going to make a difference.” He also noted that when you have 22 cars that can go from 0 to 60 mph in less than two seconds to turn one, “that creates great danger, an exciting start to a race.”

Formula E Gen3 Evo car, front wing detail.

The redesigned front wing of the Gen3 Evo. (Formula E)

One frustration of the Gen3 that Formula E addresses with the Gen3 Evo is the fragility of the front wing. As part of a larger body overhaul that includes new side beams, rear wing and more, the new car has a redesigned, slightly pointed nose and reinforced front wing. On the Gen3 car, front wing damage is common and often gets stuck under the car, making it dangerous for a driver trying to get back to the pit lane. As well as being “stronger” and “stronger”, according to Formula E, the body changes also improve aerodynamics, which could contribute to more wheel-to-wheel battles on the track.

Another key change is in the tires. Formula E is still working with Hankook on the all-weather compound used for its races, but the updated version offers 5 to 10 percent more grip than the current spec. Dodds explained that this increase in traction is essential because the Gen3 Evo uses front-wheel drive for AWD.

“If you don’t have increased tire traction, it’s quite difficult to control,” he said.

Overall, Formula E says the Gen3 Evo’s performance improvements equate to a two-second drop in qualifying lap times around Monaco’s tight, twisty street circuit. With the series predicting a qualifying time in this grade, that means AWD and a higher power mode will be active to achieve it. But it also means that Formula E is unlocking the full potential of what Gen3 has been capable of since its debut last season.

The Formula E Gen3 Evo drives away from the camera, blurred lights on either side.The Formula E Gen3 Evo drives away from the camera, blurred lights on either side.

Formula E

In fact, most of the Gen3 car is still intact. This includes an all-electric racing car that is incredibly efficient, converting 90 percent of its energy into mechanical energy. Using 600kW of regenerative braking, the cars produce almost 50 percent of the energy they need to complete the race while on track. Like its predecessor, the Gen3 Evo remains capable of a top speed of 200 mph. And just like before, teams will make performance updates to the cars through software changes in search of some advantage on the track.

Formula E says there has already been testing of the Gen3 Evo behind closed doors and the feedback has been very positive. Dodds explained that Tag Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein and DS Penske’s Jean-Éric Vergne drove the car in test sessions with rave reviews. Vern, who is one of the most outspoken drivers on the grid, has been vocal about how much better it handles than the current car.

“As soon as we can get to [Gen3 Evo] in Season 11, the better as far as he’s concerned,” explained Dodds. “It’s great to get that feedback, because happy drivers often make for happy racing.”