GM working on drive modes for electric car racing

By automotive-mag.com 2 Min Read

General Motors has filed a patent application for drive modes for electric race cars.

These modes would manage the available energy in the battery pack differently, allowing drivers to toggle between single-lap pace for a qualifying run and energy conservation for the race itself, according to the application, which was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on March 28, and originally filed in 2022.

A qualifying mode would make maximum power available at the expense of running time, while an endurance mode would limit output but allow the car to complete more laps at a set pace. Modes could be selected via a steering-wheel paddle, touchscreen, or a dedicated switch or button, GM says in the application.

The all-electric Formula E series has already put a similar idea into practice. Formula E’s current Gen3 cars only deploy their maximum 470 hp in specific situations, including the final phase of qualifying and Attack Mode, where drivers are rewarded with a temporary power boost for taking a slower racing line. Power is limited the rest of the time.

The Lucid Air Sapphire also features a Track mode with Drag Strip, Endurance, and Hot Lap submodes. And the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N has an N Race mode with Endurance and Sprint settings, along with Drag and Track modes.

If GM continues developing the ideas discussed in this patent application, it could have an equivalent feature for its own future electric performance cars—such as the electric Corvette mentioned by GM president Mark Reuss in a 2022 interview.

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