SPORT The A to Z of Formula E, Part 3: The language of Formula E

5 min

Want to sound like a true Formula E fan? Well, this might be helpful.

Presenting a glossary of terms that Formula E experts and fans use while talking about the sport.

Attack Mode

“Attack Mode” lets every driver pick up an extra hit of power, but at their own risk. To fire up Attack Mode, drivers need to arm their car, drive off the racing line, and through the Activation Zone. As a reward for taking a slower line through the corner, they’ll be able to collect an extra 30kW of power. Drivers that secure the extra speed can use it for a few laps when they want to race harder, giving them the edge to keep ahead of the competition.


There are 2 batteries in the Formula E car. One is a traditional 12v battery similar to the one you will find in a normal, everyday petrol-engined car. The other is the traction battery, which has 28kWh of energy. It operates at a maximum power of 200kw in qualifying and 170kw in race trim. Each battery is designed to last for 2 seasons.


Power and energy can sometimes be confused. In simple terms, the energy referred to in Formula E is expressed in Kilowatt hours. Like the fuel in the tank of a conventional car, energy is consumed as a Formula E car is propelled forward. Energy management is one of the key skills of a Formula E driver, with the ability to go as fast as possible while consuming as little as you can the secret to executing a winning strategy.


FanBoost gives fans the chance to impact the race. Fans vote for their 5 favorite drivers, who are then awarded a significant burst of power. They can deploy this extra power in a 5-second window during the second half of the race.


An inverter takes the direct current produced by the traction battery and converts it into the alternating current that powers the motors in Formula E cars. Basically the inverter, along with the motors and gearboxes, makes up the powertrain. Teams are allowed to develop all elements of their powertrain. They’ve got to submit their designs to the regulating body before the start of the season. This ensures that the powertrain remains fixed for the rest of the season as costly in-season development is prohibited.

Lift and Coast

A driving technique where you try to reach maximum speed with minimum energy use. It takes real racecraft to achieve this. Drivers have to lift off the throttle once they’re at maximum revs and coast into the corners, keeping up as high an apex speed as they can. It’s not an easy technique to perfect, but if you get it right, you’ll go far in Formula E.


In a Formula E context, “power” describes the flow of energy. The rate at which the energy in the battery is being used. In race mode, the power is 170kw, which is around 230bhp. In qualifying, the power limit is raised to 200kw, which is around 270bhp. The performance difference can be as much as 2 seconds a lap depending on the track length and design.


Are teams following the regulations when it comes to their cars? Well, scrutineering is the process of checking the legality of the cars. All Formula E cars are required to enter parc ferme at the end of the race for scrutineering, but drivers can be called in at any time during the event for a random spot-check. Teams can be penalized for technical infringements.

Super pole

The session in qualifying where the pole position winner is decided. The five fastest drivers from the qualifying group stages go out one at a time to set a lap time. The fastest driver in the Super Pole is rewarded 3 bonus points.

Wireless charging

Need to charge the battery of an electric vehicle, but can’t find a power source? Enter wireless charging. This is an adaptation of the technology that lets you recharge your electric toothbrush, but on a much bigger scale.