Porsche has submitted a proposal to be the new battery supplier for Formula E, the all-electric racing series, according to a new report from Motorsport.com. The automaker was also reportedly in talks with two teams about forming a technical partnership, though that endeavor has apparently fizzled out. The FIA, which oversees Formula E, began fielding proposals back in March with the goal of replacing the current battery from Williams Advanced Engineering in the series’ fifth season, which starts in 2018.
That current 28 kWh battery has a particularly huge limitation: it only gets the cars through about half of each race. Because of this, every driver has to make a pit stop at the middle of each race so they can hop into a second car with a fully charged battery.
Formula E and the FIA put out the open call for a new battery to solve this problem, and the response has apparently been overwhelming. A decision was supposed to be announced earlier this summer, but the FIA pushed back the deadline because of the amount of interest. Porsche is just the latest name to have reportedly submitted a proposal — Red Bull Technology, Renault, Citroën DS, and others are all thought to be in the race as well, and The Verge has learned there has been nine total submissions.
Nine companies are fighting for the contract
One of those nine was thought to be Mahindra, an Indian car manufacturer that has fielded a team in Formula E since the start. But Dilbagh Gill, the Team Principal for Mahindra, tells The Verge that the company has bowed out of the race.
"We decided against it. It wasn’t the right time for us," Gill said. Mahindra could be in competition the next time Formula E replaces its battery, according to Gill, but for now the company is focusing its resources elsewhere. He also said that part of the decision to back out had to do with the quality of the other submissions. "We were given a bit of a sneak peek to it, and I think it’s going to be pretty exciting," he said. "It’s a completely different solution."
Formula E has just two seasons in the books, but the young series has already attracted some big names, especially after it opened up the development of the cars before season two. Renault, Citroën DS, Jaguar, Audi, Mahindra, Faraday Future, and even (reportedly) BMW all now have a hand in the series, either on a technical level or in name only. Porsche has some seriously wild electric car ambitions, and it’s in charge of battery technology for VW, so it’s no surprise that the German automaker wants in, too.