Johnson Matthey and Envision Virgin Racing to reveal world’s first electric two-seater Formula race car at COP26

Johnson Matthey, a global leader in sustainable technologies, and Envision Virgin Racing Formula E team, will unveil the world’s first electric two-seater electric formula race car at COP26. It will be on display at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland from Sunday 31 October.

The bespoke two-seater electric vehicle (EV) was conceived to help accelerate the transition to a net zero future and the advance to clean, sustainable technologies that enable the mass adoption of emobility.

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This race car is the result of a partnership between Johnson Matthey, a global leader in sustainable technologies, and Envision Virgin Racing, the carbon neutral Formula E team. It was designed and manufactured by Delta Cosworth at Silverstone, the home of motorsport in the UK.

The Envision Virgin Racing development team focused on optimising all aspects of the racer’s design to deliver extraordinary on-track performance. It features a dedicated two-seater carbon-fibre monocoque platform that was designed and engineered to accommodate the driver and an additional passenger in tandem formation.

The car will run slick tyres to provide optimal mechanical grip and a low wear rate that minimises tyre waste. The one-of-a-kind concept racer will demonstrate Johnson Matthey’s eLNO technology. This family of nickel-rich advanced cathode materials enables around 20 percent greater battery density over today’s typical equivalent battery technology.

With eLNO cathode technology on board, the cylindrical 602030 cells in the battery pack achieve 200Wh/kg cell energy density for a total 47kWh capacity, and an electrical output of 585 volts. This is delivered to Envision Virgin Racing’s advanced electric drivetrain to produce 250kW of power at the wheels. The racer’s targeted maximum speed is 149mph (240kph).

The important takeaway here is that these key benefits will directly transfer from the racetrack to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) on the road. Batteries incorporating eLNO will provide greater range, faster recharging and the long-term retention of battery capacity.

Christian Gϋnther, Johnson Matthey battery materials sector chief executive, said “As the very first public application of our eLNO technology, the two-seater race car will provide a stunning next step in bringing our ground-breaking technology to market.

“Not only will the racer generate valuable test data but we look forward to giving passengers the opportunity to experience the visceral thrill of a high performance electric race car.”

Sylvain Filippi, Envision Virgin Racing Formula E Team CTO, said: “We are excited to unveil the world’s first electric two-seater formula race car, the result of a very productive partnership with Johnson Matthey. Delivered in under six months, it is a fantastic achievement by all those involved.

“The two-seater formula race car has been specifically designed to test and push the battery performance to its extreme. This battery technology is unlike anything else we’ve seen before, and we wanted to create a prototype car that would really put it through its paces and showcase its huge potential.”

eLNO will be supplied to customers in Europe from two new production facilities. The first facility in Poland is under construction and will be completed in 2022 and ready for commercial production in 2024.

A second eLNO plant is also planned for Finland. These facilities will operate sustainably as part of Johnson Matthey’s commitment to overcoming climate change, circular manufacturing and the responsible sourcing of materials.

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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