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New concept images show just how crazy Formula E's race cars will look next year

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Our best look yet at the season five redesign

All-electric racing series Formula E is getting a facelift in its fifth season, which starts in late 2018. While we’ve already seen a few fanciful ideas, a new set of concept images has been released by Spark Racing Technologies — the company that will actually be building the second-generation Formula E cars — and they look incredible.

Spark, which created the car that the series runs now, published the images over the weekend. The French company promises improved aerodynamics, a reduction in weight, and more efficient use of the battery. Spark says those features will all make the cars faster, too, so the company is also touting improved driver safety. We can see two takes on this in the renderings — three of them show an entirely closed cockpit, while the side-view image shows a windscreen similar to the one Formula One has tested.

These concept images are reportedly just a ballpark of what the final season five car will look like, according to Motorsport.com. Spark still has work to do with its chassis manufacturing partner Dallara, and Motorsport says the final car “will be quite different.” Formula E teams have also reportedly been shown other versions of the concept that are an “even more radical depiction” of what the cars will look like.

Spark’s current concept is already pretty radical, with its giant front wing and wild aerodynamic look. But it’s not terribly surprising that the final car could look even more extreme considering the FIA — the governing body of Formula E — originally asked the companies competing for the chassis contract to model their proposals after famous concept cars like the Red Bull X2010, the Ferrari F1 Concept, or McLaren’s MP4-X — all of which are outrageous in their own right.

The fifth season is going to be crucial for the young series, and not only because the cars will look crazy. McLaren, Sony, and Atieva (the battery technology arm of Lucid Motors) are working on a new battery pack for the cars that will last the entire race, removing the need for drivers to swap cars in the middle of the contest — one of the common complaints about the current product. Season five is also when Mercedes-Benz (and other manufacturers) could be joining the series, adding to the roster of Jaguar, Renault, Audi, BMW, and startups like NextEV and Faraday Future.