Key Points from the interview with Dirk Kesselgruber with Electrive, CTO at GKN Automotive:

  • Formula E’s technical requirements change each season to accommodate industry advancements and keep races competitive and captivating.
  • Next season, charging stops will be added, making charging capacity a higher priority in technical development.
  • Performance weight and consumption are crucial in determining a car’s range, speed, and acceleration in the Formula E races.
  • Complexity and redundancies must be reduced to make electric vehicles more efficient.
  • Digitalization and simulation of vehicles, drives, and production facilities can aid in efficiency improvements.
  • Technologies like thermal management are crucial for EV driving and charging.
  • Optimizing processes and reducing costs is vital for e-mobility adoption.
  • GKN Automotive follows a decentralized development approach with labs worldwide sharing technical developments.
  • 800-volt technology is significant for higher performance and faster charging in electric drive systems.
  • The expansion of charging infrastructure is happening worldwide, driven by Tesla’s NACS charging technology and collaborative efforts between manufacturers.
  • Weight savings are essential for electric vehicles, and thermal management plays a critical role in battery optimization.
  • GKN aims to approach challenges from multiple angles, compartmentalizing research teams to find effective solutions.
  • The advancements in Formula E and the electric vehicle industry are influencing innovation and the future of e-mobility.


It’s interesting to see how Formula E’s technical requirements are evolving to accommodate the rapid advancements in the electric vehicle industry. The addition of charging stops in the upcoming season will likely push teams to focus more on charging capacity in their technical developments. However, Dirk Kesselgruber, the CTO at GKN Automotive, points out that performance weight and consumption are still crucial factors in determining a car’s range, speed, and acceleration capacities.

To make electric vehicles more efficient, complexity and redundancies need to be reduced. Digitalizing and simulating vehicles, their drives, and production facilities can be valuable tools in achieving this goal. This performance improvement in Formula E is also relevant to the public car market, where concerns like “range anxiety” persist. Optimizing technologies such as thermal management can further enhance electric vehicle driving and charging efficiency.



GKN Automotive is taking a decentralized development approach, with labs worldwide focusing on their specific market specifications but sharing technical developments, such as software and mechatronics. They are also looking to develop their performance electronics to improve performance and lower production costs.

The mention of 800-volt technology highlights its potential for high-performance and fast-charging electric drive systems. While it’s suitable for electric trucks and buses with larger batteries, its widespread use on public roads remains a question, given the increasing availability of charging infrastructure.


As e-mobility matures, various technology development approaches will be necessary. Weight savings are beneficial for most electric vehicles, and thermal management is critical for battery optimization. By approaching the challenges from multiple angles and compartmentalizing research teams, GKN aims to find effective solutions and share the results across the company.

The expansion of charging infrastructure in the real world is evident, with Tesla’s NACS charging technology driving more interest in charging networks from other manufacturers as well. Collaborative efforts are being made, such as the automotive alliance in the USA, to create high-power charging networks to support the growing electric vehicle market.

It’s exciting to see how Formula E’s technical advancements and developments in the electric vehicle industry are driving innovation and improving the future of e-mobility.


The interview with Dirk Kesselgruber, Chief Technology Officer at GKN Automotive, sheds light on the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of electric vehicle technology and its impact on Formula E racing and the broader automotive industry.

As Formula E’s technical requirements change each season, it reflects the rapid pace of innovation in the electric vehicle sector. The upcoming addition of charging stops will drive the focus on charging capacity, while performance weight and consumption remain vital factors in determining the success of racing vehicles.

To make electric vehicles more efficient, the reduction of complexity and redundancies is crucial. Embracing digitalization and simulation enables the optimization of vehicles, drives, and production processes, contributing to improved performance and energy conservation.

Notably, advancements in Formula E technology have real-world implications for the public car market. Issues like “range anxiety” are being addressed through improved thermal management and optimized technologies, ultimately encouraging greater adoption of electromobility.


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