Nissan is set to become the first Japanese automotive brand to compete in the FIA Formula E Championship – joining the electric street racing series in Season Five.
The move to participate in Formula E provides Nissan with a global platform to spread the message of Nissan Intelligent Mobility – the company’s three-pillar strategy to re-define how its vehicles are driven, powered and integrated into society.
Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E, said: “To have a name like Nissan coming on board is a momentous day for the series. 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. The shift towards sustainable mobility is in motion and it’s unstoppable. I look forward to seeing the Nissan logo adorned on the new-look cars for Season Five.”
“As the ultimate expression of the thrill of instant acceleration and agile handling that’s at the heart of Nissan zero-emission driving, Nissan is going to electrify the Formula E championship,” 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. “Nissan will be the first Japanese brand to enter this growing championship, bringing our long history of motorsports success to the Formula E grid. It will give us a global platform for bringing our pioneering Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy to a new generation of racing fans. Nissan’s DNA is rich in innovation in electric mobility, not to mention a long history of success in motorsports. It makes sense that we bring these two core elements together by competing in Formula E.”
Nissan is set to replace one of the existing validated manufacturer registrations for the 2018/19 season – maintaining the current list of nine manufacturers in total for season five.
The move will likely come at the expense of Renault, according to a recent report fromMotorsport.com, as Nissan has decades-old strategic partnership with the French automaker. Representatives for Nissan declined to comment on Renault’s plans, and a representative for Renault’s racing division did not reply in time for publication.
Nissan “will work with its partner Renault to leverage expertise and development already available, in keeping with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi automotive partnership’s focus on collaboration and maximizing synergies to boost competitiveness,” the company wrote in a statement. Further details will be announced closer to the start of season five. (The beginning of season four is just over one month away, and the teams and manufacturers are already locked in.)
It would be a seismic shift if Nissan’s entry pushes Renault out of the sport, as the French automaker has won both team championships since Formula E began allowing manufacturers to compete in 2016. And e.Dams — the team that runs Renault’s race operations in Formula E — won the championship in the first season. It’s expected that e.Dams would remain with Nissan, according to Motorsport.com, putting the Japanese manufacturer in an excellent position as it enters Formula E.
It was only started in 2014, but major manufacturers have been flocking to Formula E, and for a number of reasons. It’s a relatively low financial commitment as far as motorsports go, and so involvement Formula E is seen as a low-risk way to promote a company’s EV efforts to a new, younger audience. Companies like Audi and Porsche, which have both been implicated in diesel emissions scandals, even quit or reduced their presence in more expensive (and more traditional) motorsports series in order to make the switch.