Nissan has today (Wednesday) become the first Japanese automotive manufacturer to announce its participation in the Formula E electric car-racing championship.
Nissan will enter Formula E from its fifth season in 2018-19. Formula E said Nissan is set to replace one of the existing validated manufacturer registrations for 2018-19, maintaining the current list of nine manufacturers in total for season five.
French manufacturer Renault, which holds an alliance partnership with Nissan, will be the company making way, allowing it to concentrate its efforts on its manufacturer team in Formula One.
Nissan said the move to participate in Formula E gives the company a highly visible global platform from which to spread the message of Nissan Intelligent Mobility – the firm’s three-pillar strategy to redefine how its vehicles are driven, powered and integrated into society.
Nissan last month unveiled the second generation of its Leaf model. The new Leaf replaces the first-generation model, which pioneered accessible zero-emission mobility with its launch in 2010. Nissan has sold more than 280,000 Leafs globally, making it the world's best-selling electric vehicle.
“Nissan's DNA is rich in innovation in electric mobility, not to mention a long history of success in motorsports,” said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice-president of global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and battery business, and chairman of Nissan’s management committee for Japan, Asia and Oceania. “It makes sense that we bring these two core elements together by competing in Formula E.”
Nissan will compete from season five, when the all-electric championship will introduce new chassis and battery specifications. The company will work with Renault to leverage expertise and development already available, in keeping with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi automotive partnership's focus on collaboration and maximising synergies to boost competitiveness.
“To have a name like Nissan coming on board is a momentous day for the series,” Alejandro Agag, founder and chief executive of Formula E, said. “Not only is it great to welcome a new manufacturer to the Formula E family – it's great to see our first Japanese manufacturer entering the frame, showing truly how global the electric revolution is. Japan is a country at the forefront of new technologies, with one of the biggest followings of Formula E.”
Season four of Formula E begins this December and runs until July. Today’s announcement continues a flow of major manufacturers into the series. In July, German luxury car manufacturer Porsche unveiled plans for a factory-backed works team to compete from the 2019-20 season.
Porsche will quit the LMP1 division of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the end of this season ahead of the move to Formula E – one year before the end of its existing deal through to the end of 2018.
Earlier in July, BMW followed Audi in confirming that it will join Formula E for season five of the series, by teaming up with Andretti to develop a new powertrain for the US team. Mercedes-Benz also recently announced its intention to join the championship in 2019-20.