In 2022, Sabic launched a long-term partnership with Formula E, the all-electric racing series that styles itself as the the first and only sport to be certified net zero carbon since inception. As the series’ Principal and Innovation Partner, Sabic works with Formula E to drive further innovation in electric vehicle technologies, building on its design and material science expertise.
That partnership has now led to the creation of the GenBeta car - the holder of the new Guinness World Record title for the fastest speed achieved by a vehicle indoors. The GenBeta hit a top speed of 218.71 km/h, shattering the previous record achieved in 2021 by a 50 km margin. The vehicle is part of the GenBeta live development and innovation project, which aims at exploring new materials and technologies for future EV race and road cars. Sabic’s contributions include using flame-retardant polymers and engineering design solutions for better structural, impact, crash and thermal management performance.
Sabic’s innovative materials feature in various parts of the GenBeta, including the vehicle’s 3D-printed front wing endplates, created using fused deposition modelling, which redirect the airflow around the front wheels.
Mechanically recycled thermoplastics from the company’s Trucircle portfolio were used for the car’s wheel fins. “These parts are mounted onto the wheel rims in a radical, spoke-like pattern, and are intended to help optimize airflow and reduce aerodynamic drag for higher acceleration and speed performance,” Sabic said in a statement.
The Formula E car features a transparent wind deflector made of a bio-renewable, low-carbon material manufactured through extrusion. The coated thermoplastic sheet, also part of Sabic’s Trucircle range, is attached to the front of the cockpit, supporting optimisation of airflow for decreased drag.
"The sustainability of Sabic's certified renewable polymers from bio-based feedstock is validated using a mass balance approach under the widely recognised International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC PLUS) scheme," a company spokesperson told Sustainable Plastics. "Mass balance is determined to allocate the renewable content used in production and conversion of the plastic material to the ultimate application. In addition, the certification also provides traceability throughout the partners’ entire supply chain from the feedstock to the final product," the spokesperson continued.
Sabic developed the new materials under its dedicated solution platform for electrification, Bluehero, an initiative launched in July last year. As part of the project, the manufacturer has also recently completed the first moulding trial of an EV battery pack cover tool.
GenBeta is an upgraded version of the Gen3 racing vehicle introduced in the 2022-2023 season. It is reasonable to assume that many of the featured modifications herald what will be possible in the Formula E racing cars in the near future.
*This article was updated on 07/08/2023 to add a statement from Sabic.