LONDON -- Jaguar Land Rover will enter the Formula E battery-powered race series to test its electric powertrains.
The UK automaker's Jaguar unit will take part in the third season of Formula E starting late next year.
Formula E racing will help Jaguar Land Rover to further the development of future EV powertrains including motor and battery technology, the company said in a statement today.
"The championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions," JLR Group Engineering Director Nick Rogers said.
"In the next decade we will see more changes in the automotive world than in the last 30," he added at a news conference in London. "We believe electrification is the future."
Neither Jaguar nor Land Rover currently have all-electric vehicles in production. The UK magazine Autocar reported in November that Jaguar is working on an electric crossover to go on sale in 2017.
Formula E started in 2014 and is now in its second season. The race series holds one-day events in city centers around the world, with this season's calendar including Beijing, Moscow, Berlin, Paris, London and Long Beach in California.
Renault and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen’s DS Automobiles brand take part in Formula E races. Audi is also involved via its long-term race collaborator ABT.
Despite Jaguar’s rich racing heritage, the brand hasn’t been seriously involved in track competition since previous owner Ford pulled Jaguar from Formula One in 2004 after a largely unsuccessful five years in the sport. India’s Tata Motors bought JLR from Ford in 2008.
JLR will partner with Williams Advanced Engineering, an offshoot of the Williams F1 team, to help build a Formula E car. The two companies have already collaborated on the C-X75 hybrid supercar, which was intended to be a production model until JLR cancelled it in 2012. Williams chief executive Mike O'Driscoll is a former managing director of Jaguar.
"Jaguar is a brand with a rich sporting heritage and the fact that it is returning to global motorsport with Formula E is a huge endorsement of the championship and its ability to influence the development of electric cars," said Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag.
Reuters contributed to this report