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Sunday, January 29, 2023

DS builds electric Formula E-powered concept to test new technologies

DS, one of the lesser-known parts of the Stellantis empire, wants to transfer the lessons it has learned by racing in Formula E to upcoming production models. It built a concept called E-Tense Performance to bridge the gap between today’s race track and tomorrow’s showroom.

“Racing-inspired” means a lot of different things to a lot of different companies. For DS, an outgrowth of the Citroën lineup formed in 2014, the term denotes a carbon fiber monocoque and two electric motors (one per axle) lifted straight out of the car it races in Formula E. The powertrain delivers a total output of 815 horsepower and 5,900 pound-feet of torque at the wheels and unlocks through-the-road all-wheel-drive — that torque figure is not a typo. It also gives the concept a 600-kilowatt regeneration capacity, which we’re told is enough to stop the car without using the braking system in most driving conditions. However, the low-slung coupe remains fitted with disc brakes on both axles.

Details about the battery pack remain relatively vague. It’s described as “compact,” and it’s installed in a carbon-aluminum composite case that was designed in-house. Engineers installed the battery between the passenger compartment and the rear axle to improve the weight distribution. Interestingly, it’s cooled by a liquid called Quartz EV Fluid that was developed specifically for this car’s cooling system.

Visually, the E-Tense Performance looks like an evolution of the E-Tense design study presented at the 2016 edition of the Geneva auto show. Its front end is characterized by a three-dimensional insert that occupies the space where you’d normally expect to find a grille, sharp-looking lights, and a pair of cameras that replace the headlights; they’re there to gather data about the car’s surroundings. Inside, we’re told that DS added a pair of leather-upholstered bucket seats and a steering wheel that followed the motors from the Formula E parts bin.

DS stresses that the E-Tense Performance is a “high-performance laboratory” and not an accurate preview of a production model that’s due out in the not-too-distant future. However, some of the technologies and the design cues inaugurated by the prototype will trickle down to production-bound cars in the coming years; the company pledged that every model it unveils after 2024 will be entirely electric. 

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