Formula E boss Alejandro Agag announced today that two major car manufacturers will enter new teams in the series next season, and according to reports from Sky News and Motorsport.com, Jaguar Land Rover will be one of those teams. The British manufacturer is apparently set to announce the news next week.
The new Jaguar team would be created in time for the third season — which starts in the fall of 2016 — thanks to a partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, the company that designed and assembled the batteries for Formula E's cars. (Williams is also a long time player in Formula One.) The Sky News report also states that, in conjuction with the Formula E announcement, Jaguar Land Rover will commit to launching an electric car.
When reached by email, a Jaguar Land Rover spokesperson wouldn't comment on future plans, saying only that the company is "continuously evaluating new opportunities for the business," and that "as part of that process we consider a wide range of activities including motorsport." A spokesperson for Williams Advanced Engineering declined to comment.
Jaguar could take over for Trulli, a struggling team that is on its way out
But the rumor comes at a very convenient time, because one of the 10 teams in Formula E — Trulli Formula E — is apparently on its way out. Formula E is currently limited to 10 teams, and the way its bylaws are written, incoming teams either need approval or need to take over an existing team (or take the place of one on its way out).
The Trulli team has had a rough go of it this season, missing both of the first two races. In Beijing, the problem was that some of the cars' parts were held in customs. In Malaysia, the team failed pre-race inspection. Rumors about the team's demise have followed, and today The Verge has independently confirmed that the Trulli team won't continue in the series — though it is unclear whether the team will be taken over or removed outright.
Either way, this would pave the way for Jaguar Land Rover, a company that has previously shown interest in joining the all-electric racing series. In July, Motorsport.com reported that the existing teams were polled about adding an 11th team, rumored to be Jaguar, but the idea was shot down.
Without another team dropping from the series, the second incoming manufacturer mentioned by Agag would also have to take over a team. This would likely come in the form of one of the companies that is already involved in the series; for example, Citroen DS provides the electric motor for the Virgin team, and could theoretically wind up running the whole outfit.
As the electric car's resurrection continues, more and more name brands are committing to developing their own models. Porsche has green-lit production on an electric sports car, Chevrolet is nearly ready to unveil the final production version of the Bolt, and more are following in the footsteps of Tesla. So Jaguar Land Rover getting into the game wouldn't come as much of a shock, nor would establishing a presence in Formula E as a means to promote a forthcoming all-electric car.