McLaren are saying that by the 2018 Formula E season they will have a battery with twice the energy density of today's batteries and have signed on to supply batteries for the 5th season that will allow cars to go the full race distance. McLaren to supply new Formula E battery - Formula E Is there something actually behind this or more PR than technology?

Hey, have at it. Tesla does not have exclusive rights to battery development. Racing has always been the incubator for new auto technology. If this is successful we will all benefit.

Does anyone know what technology they're using now? If they're on LiFePO4 like so many others, simply switching to lithium-cobalt or Li-NCA (like Tesla) would more than double energy density.

I imagine there must be. Currently Formula-E drivers change cars half way through the race (to get "range") and the proposal is to have a single race car for the whole race, using the new batteries. Assuming they aren't twice as big, twice as heavy!, then seems to me the only solution is more energy density.

Yeah. That. No problem. Does McLaren know something that we don't? Will they be able to deliver? Interesting in light of Tesla apparently doubling the energy density of it's power packs. Tesla is doubling the energy capacity of the Powerpack with new battery cells from the Gigafactory

not too sure about cornering speeds, but other than that might be worth just rocking up in a P100D en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Formula_E "The race itself lasts for approximately 50 minutes ... An average Formula E car has a power of at least 250 hp. The car is able to accelerate from 0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 3 seconds, with a maximum speed of 225 km/h (140 mph)"

Formula E batteries only have to last 10 hours, or maybe a few hundred hours if they have to keep them for the full season. Tesla batteries have to last 300,000 miles+ with the lowest possible degradation.

Batteries last the season. But they also currently aren't very large (33kWh) and could be more expensive than regular batteries. Also remember that it's about the whole battery, including packaging and cooling, so they won't have to double cell density. Going to whole race will really be a big step forward. But then the question will be which direction to take after that: more power and speed or more laps?

“My top advice really for anyone who says they’ve got some breakthrough battery technology is please send us a sample cell, okay. Don’t send us PowerPoint, okay, just send us one cell that works with all appropriate caveats, that would be great. That sorts out the nonsense and the claims that aren’t actually true.” -Elon Musk