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Formula E returns in October with new rules and more intense competition

The Formula E championship is set to return in just under two months and will be accompanied by some new rules and updated cars.

The new season begins in Beijing on 17 October and takes in nine other locations including Berlin, Paris and London.

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Teams are now allowed to modify their cars, within limits, in order to gain an advantage. Last year, all the vehicles were identical but for the upcoming season, drivetrains and gears can be customised. All the cars will have the same battery power unit, however, something that Audi driver Lucas di Grassi believes will generate a close contest.

"The cars performance has been limited so all teams have the same power,” he told the Express. “Although some cars have different gears and drivetrains I'm expecting the season to be very close."

The competition is hoping to raise awareness of green technology by demonstrating that environmentally friendly doesn’t necessarily mean slow races. The Formula E cars are capable of travelling from 0 to 60 in three seconds and have a top speed in excess of 140mph.

In fact, next season also promises to deliver some excitement from an unlikely source – the safety car. Qualcomm’s BMW i8 safety car can travel at speeds of 160mph and uses an innovative wireless charging system to refill its batteries without a plug in less than an hour.

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Last season’s competition came to a dramatic close on the streets of London when Nelson Piquet Jr. became the first ever Formula E champion in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The Brazilian driver will begin his title defence in Beijing, competing against a host of familiar names from Formula One including Jacques Villeneuve and Nick Heidfeld.