The FIA Formula E Championship has released its full list of participating manufacturers for next season. And as expected, it confirms that both Porsche and Mercedes will join the electric series.
Both the German automakers announced their intent to enter the championship last July. And not without cost: Porsche’s entry comes at the expense of its Le Mans prototype program, while Mercedes is shutting down its DTM effort (but not its F1 team) to join the electric grid. But it wasn’t until now that their spots in the paddock were officially confirmed.
“If you had said to me then that we would be in double figures in terms of recognisable names in the world of motorsport, biggest road car manufacturers and automotive brands – I would have said you were crazy,” said series chief Alejandro Agag. “But this is the reality now.”
Audi, BMW, Jaguar and others already on board
As the latest manufacturers to join the series, the two companies from Stuttgart will go up against their mutual rivals Audi and BMW (which is stepping up with a full works entry). They’ll also contend with the likes of Jaguar, PSA’s DS brand, Indian automaker Mahindra, and Nissan (which is taking over Renault’s operation). Dragon Racing, run by Roger’s son Jay Penske, appears to be re-branding as Penske Autosport. And electric-vehicle startups NextEV and Venturi will continue supporting their own teams as well.
Although the battery and new-design chassis will be provided centrally, those eleven participating manufacturers will be responsible for developing their own powertrains. That includes the electric motor, inverter, brake-by-wire system, transmission, differential, driveshafts, cooling system, ECU, and rear suspension. The opening up of those elements represents a great deal more latitude and responsibility than the manufacturers had before.
“Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture: it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies,” noted Mercedes racing chief Toto Wolff. “Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience – and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series.”
“Over the past few years, the FIA and Alejandro Agag have done a fantastic job”, added Porsche’s Fritz Enzinger. “It is due to this development that we will be able to compete on the race track against many of the world’s largest car manufacturers.”