Porsche is one of the most legendary names in racing, so having it join Formula E would be a big boost to electric-car racing.
The Formula E electric-car racing series is quickly proving that it’s no joke. In just three race seasons, Formula E has gone from a curiosity to attracting major automakers like Audi, BMW, and Jaguar. It may be about to snag another one.
Formula E is courting Porsche, and the German automaker that just won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the third year in a row is seriously considering joining the series next year, reports Autosport. Formula E is looking to expand its roster of teams in 2018, and still has one slot available.
Porsche CEO Oliver Blume, board member Michael Steiner, and Andreas Seidl, head of Porsche’s top LMP1 racing team, reportedly met with Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag at Formula E’s Monaco race last month. Porsche officials also attended the Berlin Formula E race earlier this month.
Seidel told Autosport that Formula E may not have enough “technical freedoms” for Porsche’s liking. The automaker also doesn’t like the current practice of having drivers switch cars midway through the race. That’s because current batteries don’t provide enough range to finish a race on one charge. But Formula E plans to introduce new batteries that will eliminate the need for car changes.
Like other automakers showing interest in Formula E, Porsche could use the series to boost its green credentials. Porsche is planning to launch a Tesla-fighting electric luxury sedan based on 2015’s Mission E concept within the next few years, and Formula E would be a nice tie-in.
Formula E would also be another arena for Porsche to compete with its traditional rivals. Jaguar currently runs its own team in the series, while Audi and BMW have partnerships with independent teams. The two German manufacturers plan to increase their involvement over the next few years, and Mercedes-Benz has taken an option to join Formula E as well. Rumor has it that even Ferrari might get in on the act, although boss Sergio Marchionne is adamantly against any electric Ferrari road cars.