November 24, 2014 @ 03:26 PM

News: Signed, sealed and delivered, love DHL

DHL engineers sustainability into the Formula E racing series. Report by Arvind Kumar

DHL engineers sustainability into the Formula E racing series. Report by Arvind Kumar
This is the challenge, transport 40 cars across four continents and 10 cities over the course of ten months. Simple enough right. Note though that these ‘cars’, are state-of-the-art battery powered single-seaters capable of top speeds of 225kph driven only by electric motors. Add to that, the requisite parts, spares and spanners required for any top-tier racing team and you would have yourself a logistical nightmare. Not to mention, the daunting challenge of performing the entire transit in a sustainable and energy efficient manner.

Therefore, the logistics and supply chain process behind the Formula E is as important as the advanced Lithium-Ion cells from Williams that power the cars themselves. DHL, the founding logistics partner of the series, has been at the forefront of the planning and implementation process since the inception of the Formula E idea. And did you ever wonder why the series calendar is the way it is?

Well, as all Formula E teams are based in Donington Park’s purpose built central workshop for the first year. The first stage of the season involves transporting the cars and equipment from UK to Beijing for the first race of the season. As the season progresses, DHL will see the precious packages across the continents of Asia, South and North America before finally making it back to Europe forming a reduced CO2 circuit of transportation of its own. But what exactly is DHL transporting besides the 40 race cars?

Without getting into specifics, 20 charging units, 200 tyres, tools, circuit equipment and the all-important 45 battery packs that electrifies all the action on the grid. The total weight - 450-tonnes packaged into 25 bespoke containers which require no-less than two 747-airliners filled to the brim. DHL will also utilize land and sea transportation where applicable if deemed more environmentally friendly and efficient.

The biggest challenge of the lot is the shipments of the first-of-its-kind battery packs for the cars. Transporting the cells requires custom made packaging and specialised aviation regulatory certification such as those required when transporting firearms and explosive materials. The battery packs weigh 320-kg each and contain 200-kg of potentially explosive Lithium-Ion cells. 

Therefore, the next time the lights go out to start the next Formula E Grand Prix, rest assured that an intense race was already ran prior to the main event by DHL to ensure that every car, component and Lithium-Ion cell was delivered on time, every time… sustainably.

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