One should not confuse the Formula E with the Formula 1, although, as far as the cars themselves are concerned, there is a certain resemblance. It could also be mentioned, that nowadays, both types of car have a greater amount of electrics, however, that's where the similarity stops.
What you are seeing here, are in fact, purely electrically powered racing cars with not even an ounce of customary drive train. You could put it this way, they've pushed this concept to the extreme, and this has consequences. Since even if one speaks of cars (plural), one has already made a mistake.
Despite having a different paint-job and different support, it's one and the same car, built in France as a 'Renault Formula E Spark SRT_01E'. The electronics-division of McLaren provides the motor, which can of course, also be used as a generator. At least this purely electrically powered car has been given a gearbox with up to five speeds, different from most of the others which have a fixed ratio.
The batteries come from Williams and can only be had as a built-in package. A battery-change during the race does not take place. However, because 28 kWh for a longer race with up to 200 kW (272 HP), won't even last for a race which takes 45 minutes, in the middle of the race the batteries can be replaced with freshly charged ones.
So, there are various teams. In Germany, the team from Audi Sport ABT, very successful in the DTM (German Touring Car Championships) with five titles to it's name, are responsible. They try, as do the other teams as well, by using suitable strategies and despite the restrictions concerning energy and the top-speed of 225 km/h, to be better than the competition. The cars will be driven by two female racing drivers, Tulli, Heidfeld (with his own stable), Ayrton Senna's nephew, Bruno, who comes from Formula 1 and similar top drivers from the DTM.
For the relatively short racing distance, this circus will tour the world to take part in ten special city-course races in Australia, India and South America. Every year two races will be added. The participant teams are also similarly global. The premier race was at Donington Park in England, which also had assistance from the producers of the car. Take a look at the video below and you can experience something of the peculiar sound of the brand new racing cars.
By the way, in the Isle of Man during the TT fortnight, they've been racing the so called ZERO electric bikes since 2010 as a permanent fixture. The batteries last for a full lap on the mountain course (approx. 60 km) and batteries for two-lap racing are already being discussed. The machines are capable of speeds of up to 188 km/h. All the big names in TT-racing are now regular competitors. 07/14