Porsche Formula E plans revealed
23 Sep 2016
Porsche is the latest major car manufacturer to show a direct interest in Formula E as it is believed to have submitted an applicant tender to be the sole battery supplier for the championship in 2018.
The German giant has been visible at races with top management having attended several events in the first two seasons.
Now, Porsche has acted with a formal interest in supplying battery technology from season five of the series onwards.
The tender application for the sole battery supply, which is currently being evaluated by a team of independent consultants brought in by the FIA to choose the battery supplier, is set to be concluded next month after additional time was given for the crucial decision to be made.
A formal announcement at the Hong Kong ePrix next month is believed to be under consideration although an earlier directive could come at the World Motorsport Council next week.
Porsche has long been working on electric vehicles and sustainable mobility, and last year launched the Mission E concept car. Earlier this year Porsche was allocated the task of managing battery technology and development for the whole of the VW Group.
While a Formula E team is unlikely in the short term, Porsche sees an attraction in supplying advanced batteries to the teams after developing systems on the current FIA World Endurance Championship title-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1-H car.
The Stuttgart based marque was in some discussion with two teams earlier this year about being a technical partner but is believed to have since concentrated on pursuing the option of supplying all cars with its technology.
However, Porsche’s electrical engineering department is now leading the research and development of battery technology and is believed to be driving forward the bid to supply Formula E teams from 2018 onwards.
Porsche’s Vice President of Motorsport at Porsche Auto Group, Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, is believed to be heading the team at Porsche in the overall development of its battery products, including the Formula E tender. Walliser attended the Berlin ePrix in May,
Porsche would not comment to Motorsport.com on its interest in the supply of batteries, but speaking in October last year, Walliser said: “Porsche is one of the leading lights in this field, already pioneering five years ago with the 911GT3 R Hybrid.
"In the future, too, it will be crucial to continue recognizing such trends and leading them to successful results through appropriate placement in the right performance class. That requires technical and tactical acumen, in equal measure.”
Motorsport.com understands that the deal comes with the possibility of significant marketing rights and has thus captured the imagination of big names such as Panasonic and Red Bull Technologies, which showed initial interest in submitting a tender but has since combined its capabilities with Renault.
Other names that have submitted tenders are McLaren, SAFT, Williams Advanced Engineering, DS, and Mahindra.