Mercedes-Benz is ready to enter the 2018/19 Formula E international electric racing series.
Pending approval from FIA World Motorsport Association, Mercedes-Benz’s British-based subsidiary, Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix, hopes to bring its experience in motorsports over to electric racing. Entering the Formula E racing circuit will help the German automaker further develop its electric-powered technology.
“Electrification will play a major role in the future of the automotive industry,” says Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. “Racing has always been a technology R&D platform for the motor industry. This will make Formula E very relevant in the future.”
Mercedes-Benz is expected to use Formula E as a marketing platform and technical showcase for its newly created EQ electric car sub-brand. Parent company Daimler revealed the Generation EQ crossover concept recently at the Paris Motor Show.
Mercedes-Benz gained a lot of electrified racing experience through its hybrid Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One racer. That racing team has played a dominant role in Formula One races.
Formula E was launched in 2014 as an all-electric race series to generate interest in battery electric cars, and to promote sustainability and electrified vehicle technology advancements. This season’s races will be held on the streets of 10 cities in Asia, South America and Europe, with the final two races taking place in New York City on July 29 and 30, 2017.
Formula E has altered the guidelines for racing teams entered in the competition for the 2018/19 season. It will be the first to require that teams use only one race car for each race, rather than to two-car format that’s been used since the series stared in 2014. Another revision will be opening up two more entry slots, with Mercedes likely taking one of them for that race season.
Mercedes-Benz would be competing with other automakers in the racing series. Electric supercar startup Faraday Future is entering through its Dragon Racing alliance. NextEV, which runs its own team, will be competing.
European competitors will be there through the Jaguar Racing team, Audi and its partnership with the ABT Sportsline team, and Renault throught its e-DAMS team. BMW recently created a partnership with incumbent Formula E team Andretti Racing, though that deal is set to expire at the end of the 2017/18 season.