After keeping fans eagerly waiting for the last 12 month, Nissan finally unveiled the prototype for its Formula E car. The Renault e.dams team has dominated the Formula E world championship since its first race in 2015 right up until last year when it announced before the start of the 2017/2018 season that it was to be its final year competing under the French brand.
The Japanese firm had already announced at the Tokyo Motor Show that it would participate, in the fifth season of the Formula E championship at the end of the year instead of Renault, one of the great forerunners of the competition. This change is seen as a part of the sports restructuring of the Nissan-Renault alliance that aims to boost both manufacturers’ commercial strategies and strengthen their positions.
Nissan will now join Audi and BMW as a fully fledged manufacturer in 2018/2019, with Jaguar, and the German superpowers Mercedes and Porsche officially joining the following season. Nissan will also be the first Japanese motor manufacturer to compete in the electric single-seater series.
The new car was designed by Nissan’s Global Design team in Japan. Nissan’s entry in the electric single-seater series means the departure of Renault, which will now focus more on Formula 1. It’s the second generation of cars to use Formula E and is expected to be competing for the next three seasons. Energy capacity is almost double, jumping from 28kW/h to 54kW/h and the output for classification goes from 200kW to 250kW, meaning a change from 270 horsepower to 335. This way, the new package with more power and range eliminates the need for the mid-race car swap. The French company, Spark Racing Technologies is responsible for designing the chassis of this futuristic single-seater.
It should also be noted that the Nissan LEAF has already completed more than four billion zero-emission kilometres around the world, and the company now wants to bring that EV expertise to the race track.
The leading electric car sales company in the world will also be the first Japanese manufacturer to compete in the series, which is without representation from a Japanese manufacturer at present. This is an excellent option to maintain presence in Formula E and a great boost to the electric category.
The strategic move puts Nissan back in the forefront of a major international racing championship for the first time since it abandoned its failed LMP1 project in the 2015 WEC and allows Renault to focus on its rapidly growing Formula 1 programme. The French brand entered with e.dams for the first time in the 2015/2016 season and won both the drivers’ and the teams’ titles.
Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president of global marketing and sales, said “Nissan’s DNA is rich in innovation in electric mobility, not to mention a long history of success in motorsports,” and added, “it makes sense that we bring these two core elements together by competing in Formula E.”
Season five of the ABB FIA Formula E championship is expected to visit major cities including Hong Kong, Berlin, Zurich, Rome and New York. The new car that will debut this season is scheduled to race in the Formula E championship for the next three seasons. Further details regarding Nissan’s drivers and other technical and marketing partners are expected to be announced later this year.