M-Sport Is Working on an Electric Rally Car

The car, likely to be based on the Ford Fiesta R5, will be designed for one-day events.

2017 WRC Dayinsure Wales Rally GB Oct 27th
Tim Williams—Action Plus via Getty Images

The British rally car builder M-Sport is working on a different kind of rally car that runs exclusively on electricity. It will likely be based on the current Ford Fiesta R5 platform, which M-Sport already offers for many levels of rally competition including the World Rally Championship.

M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson told Autosport, "We're always looking for ways to challenge ourselves, and this is the next step in technology in the sport." While he confirmed that the car M-Sport is working on now will be in a Fiesta R5 shell, he also made it clear that this would not be the finished car.

Wilson did not disclose any details about the electric drivetrain, citing non-disclosure agreements with partner companies, though he did say the car will be all-wheel-drive. The nature of rally stages being twisty technical roads with short straightaways lends itself well to the acceleration advantages of an electric car. Additionally, the handicap of inferior performance at high speeds as compared to a traditional internal combustion car is minimized, since there are few places on a rally stage that allow a car to reach and maintain its maximum speed.

The car would be intended for smaller single-day rally events rather than the longer events that the top-level series run. This eliminates range anxiety, as well as recharging delays since the number of both competition and transit distance will be well within the established ranges of existing electric cars for the street. It would have no trouble completing an SCCA RallySprint on a single charge, for example.

But don't expect to see an electric Fiesta in WRC anytime soon. "At the moment this isn't about the World Rally Championship," said Wilson. However, if the FIA changes its rules to include or require electric rally cars in the future, M-Sport will have a good jump on the development of such cars.