James Barclay, team director of Panasonic Jaguar Racing, called Formula E an “incubator” and “laboratory” for the automaker, which aims to produce its first all-electric vehicle in 2018.
“We felt it was a powerful platform to be a part of to support our electrification ambitions and our mission to produce electric cars in the future,” he said. “Electrification is a key part of our future.”
The largest learning opportunity for automakers currently is the development of the race cars’ powertrains.
In Season 1, teams followed a standard system that included a battery, inverter and single electric motor that drove a four-speed gearbox. Last season, the series opened the regulations to allow teams to design and build their own powertrains.
“The amount of opportunity to innovate with the recipe that’s on the table is one of the most exciting things,” said Nate Schroeder, Faraday Future head of motorsports and special programs.
The manufacturer-created powertrains range from twin pancake e-motors with no multispeed gearboxes to one e-motor with two- or three-speed gearboxes. Batteries remain standard.
Jaguar’s entry into Formula E marked its return to racing following a 12-year hiatus. The team is using a longitudinal e-motor driving a two-speed gearbox.