Mercedes-Benz May Jump Into Formula E in 2018
That should pair well with that F1-engined hypercar.
In just the latest sign that Formula E racing is finally elbowing its way into the mainstream, Mercedes-Benz is expressing an interest in joining Formula E for the 2018/2019 season.
The 2018/2019 installment will mark the fifth season of the electric car racing series, and assuming all goes according to plan, it’s expected to include some big changes. The Formula E lineup will expand from its current 10-team roster to as many as 12 crews, making room for Mercedes-Benz to join the series. (Formula E says it expects all 10 current teams to continue in the sport for the foreseeable future.)
Season five will also mark the point where the series will transition from two cars per driver to one, forcing them to use the same car for the entire race. It’s likely that the upcoming McLaren-made batteries, which are expected to pack nearly double the capacity of the current units, will play a key role in allowing the cars to endure through a whole race, which currently lasts roughly an hour.
Currently, Jaguar is the only major automotive manufacturer to field an entire team in Formula E. The British—well, technically, Indian, but that’s neither here nor there—carmaker, however, is still a nascent member of the sport, first joining in the 2016/2017 model year. Other established car companies such as Audi, Renault, and BMW have also become involved in the sport, albeit through limited partnerships with other racing teams; Chinese-backed American electric car startup Faraday Future has also joined the field this year, partnering with the existing team of Dragon Racing.
Mercedes has been enjoying something of a racing renaissance in recent years, claiming the constructor’s championship in the 2014 and 2015 Formula One seasons and continuing its domination this year. That success has, in part, inspired the carmaker to develop a new hypercar packing a modified version of the 1.6-liter turbocharged V-6 used by the company’s F1 race car.
But as is the case for many of the major automakers, electric vehicles are becoming an increasingly important part of Mercedes’s future; at the recent Paris Motor Show, the company revealed a lightly-conceptualized version of a 300-mile electric SUV planned for production in the next couple years, along with plans to build around 10 new EVs under a new sub-brand known as “EQ.”
Pictured: Mercedes-Benz F1 W07 Hybrid Silver Arrow Formula One race car