Formula E – a magnet for car manufacturers

Formula E – a magnet for car manufacturers

6th Oct 2016 6:00 pm

Here’s a run-down of the car manufacturers currently racing in the fast-growing electric racing series, and those set to join them soon.

Mercedes’ recent announcement that it has secured a Formula E entry for the 2018/19 season makes it the latest in a line of major road car manufacturers who have committed to the all-electric racing series. With the third season of the series due to kick off this weekend in Hong Kong, we give you a run-down of all the car manufacturers currently on the grid, as well as those set to join them soon.

Renault (Team name: Renault e.Dams)

Having won two constructors’ titles in as many seasons, Renault is the most successful team in Formula E. Founded by Formula 1 legend Alain Prost and Dams founder Jean-Paul Driot, the team is well-prepared for Formula E with its comparatively long history of electric cars, and an electric powertrain designed in-house by Renault Sport F1. The team has retained Sebastian Buemi and Nico Prost as its drivers for the upcoming season.

Mahindra (Team name: Mahindra Racing)

Formula E’s sole Indian team, Mahindra Racing, has been participating in the series since its inaugural 2014/15 season. This season, the team has replaced Brazilian driver Bruno Senna with Felix Rosenqvist, who joins Nick Heidfeld in taking the wheel. The manufacturer has been using Formula E technology to further develop the vehicles produced by its electric mobility division, Mahindra Electric.

Venturi (Team name: Venturi Formula E)

Little-known car manufacturer Venturi, originating in Monaco, has competed in Formula E since the 2014/15 season, as well as having recently taken the electric land speed record. The team is owned by Venturi boss Gildo Pallanca Pastor and Leonardo DiCaprio. Maro Engel and Stephane Sarrazin will be piloting the team’s car this season.

Jaguar (Team name: Panasonic Jaguar Racing)

Jaguar recently announced the official launch of its factory Formula E team for the 2016/17 season, marking its return to motorsport for the first time in over 10 years. The technology Jaguar develops in its Formula E effort will undoubtedly influence its upcoming electric cars, including an all-new, all-electric SUV. Former F1 driver Adam Carroll and 21-year-old Mitch Evans will be driving Jaguar’s I-Type 1 Formula E car this season.

DS (Team name: DS Virgin Racing)

The PSA Group’s upmarket DS brand also competes in Formula E, having entered the race series in the 2015/16 season. Like many of its competitors, the brand has entered Formula E to develop its electric car technologies for road cars, as well as reach new potential customers, according to DS CEO Yves Bonnefont. The team’s driver line-up for this season includes Sam Bird and Jose Maria Lopez.






Faraday Future (Team name: Faraday Future Dragon Racing)

Although not an official road carmaker yet, (its first car is due internationally soon, though) Faraday Future entered Formula E as the title sponsor for the 2016 Long Beach ePrix. Earlier this year, the manufacturer announced a long term alliance with Dragon Racing, which has been part of the series since its beginning in the 2014/15 season. Its future model of electric vehicles will be heavily influenced by its Formula E operations too, as is evident in its FFZERO1 concept, first shown earlier this year. Jerome d’Ambrosio and Loic Duval will be piloting the team’s cars for the season.

NextEV (Team name: NextEV Nio)

Another unofficial road car brand competing in Formula E is NextEV, whose first model will be a 1,359hp electric hypercar. The model’s motor will benefit from technologies honed in competition in Formula E, and it will be one of the fastest accelerating cars in the world when it reaches production. Nelson Piquet Jr and Oliver Turvey make up the brand’s team of drivers.

Audi (Team name: ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport)

Although Audi’s Formula E outfit won’t be a factory operation until the 2017/18 season, Audi has ramped up its involvement in the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team until then, with added financial and technical support for the team in the upcoming 2016/17 season. It’s not known if the drivers will change with the transition to a factory team, but for the current season, Lucas Di Grassi and Daniel Abt will be driving for the team.

BMW (Team name: Andretti Formula E)

BMW has a shoo-in to the Formula E world with its co-operation with the Andretti Formula E team, announced earlier this year, and is another carmaker with a raft of electric models on the way, as is proven by its recent activity surrounding its i electric sub-brand. BMW’s sales and marketing boss, Ian Robertson, has previously hinted at a full factory effort, although this is expected to take effect after the current season finishes.

Mercedes (Team name: To be confirmed)

Pending approval from the FIA, Mercedes Grand Prix will be able to take one of the two new team slots due to be made available in the electric series’ fifth season. Mercedes already has a prestigious Formula 1 outfit, but with a new range of electric cars on the way spearheaded by the Generation EQ concept revealed at the Paris motor show, it’s likely that Mercedes will join the ranks of other carmakers looking to improve their EV tech ahead of their first electric cars’ launches.

Volvo (Team name: To be confirmed)

With its newly acquired Polestar performance division, Volvo has also been looking into getting involved in Formula E. Volvo is part of the advisory board for Formula E and a spokesperson confirmed to our sister publication Autocar UK that while there are no immediate plans to enter, it remains a possibility for the brand. As it stands, the Swedish brand is one of the few large premium segment manufacturers not involved in racing in Formula E.

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