Nissan and BMW in talks to join Formula E grid as early as 2016/17

Nissan and BMW are in discussions to join the Formula E grid, Autosport has learned

Nissan and BMW in talks to join Formula E grid as early as 2016/17

Multiple sources have confirmed the two manufacturers are in talks with existing teams in the electric single-seater championship, with tie-ups possible as early as season three.

Nissan, which culled its LMP1 programme late last year, would be FE's first Japanese manufacturer.

It confirmed to Autosport it was conducting a "fact-finding" mission into the series as part of an evaluation of its long-term motorsport strategy.

Autosport understands approval is needed from the Renault-Nissan Alliance - the partnership that oversees the interests of the two brands and six others within the group - to allow the two makes to compete in the same category.

BMW has been involved in the series since its inception, and has been open about using its supply of i3 and i8 machines as course cars as a way of keeping close tabs on the category.

Should Nissan or BMW commit to entering FE for season three, neither would have a direct hand in powertrain technology right away.

The German marque has made it clear the championship's dependence on mid-race car swaps was a deterrent, but recent roadmap changes have strengthened the likelihood of the series moving to one car per driver for the 2018/19 campaign.

Why Formula E had to adapt or die

BMW is unlikely to change its position on this and enter as a fully-fledged entrant before then, but one option would be to partner an existing team while developing technology for the fifth season.

Nissan's situation is simpler. As no final decision has been made, the short lead-time means a commercial tie-up would be its only realistic chance of being part of the 2016/17 grid.

Two of the remaining three independent teams - American outfits Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing - are registered as so-called manufacturers for season three, and have long since started the process of producing their own powertrains.

The final independent, Anglo-Japanese outfit Team Aguri, is believed to be close to confirming a Renault powertrain supply for season three.

Series CEO Alejandro Agag would not comment on BMW and Nissan but told Autosport: "We do know we're seriously considered by a number of manufacturers on top of the ones we have.

"The changing roadmap is fine for them, but the key is cost control.

"I don't like to be too excessively positive, but I think we've created a cool place to be for OEMs.

"The ones that are in are really happy. The partners we have, they are all renewing and extending their contracts and nobody is leaving."

Nissan and BMW joining the series would mean manufacturer presence in nine of its 10 entries.

Renault is the most prominent currently involved, with British marque Jaguar joining the series in season three.

DS (PSA Peugeot Citroen's luxury brand), electric vehicle specialist Venturi, Indian make Mahindra and emerging Chinese EV company NEXTEV also have entries.

Abt has an affiliation with Audi but is not an official works squad, although the Volkswagen Group is thought to be evaluating greater involvement.

shares
comments
Oliver Turvey to miss Berlin Formula E race due to Super GT clash

Previous article

Oliver Turvey to miss Berlin Formula E race due to Super GT clash

Next article

NEXTEV TCR picks Ben Hanley as Oliver Turvey's Formula E stand-in

NEXTEV TCR picks Ben Hanley as Oliver Turvey's Formula E stand-in
Load comments
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Plus

Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive

OPINION: Circuit racing has traditionally favoured front- or rear-wheel-drive setups, eschewing the equal distribution of power. But for Formula E and other electric-powered series, our columnist believes it’s a perfect fit

Formula E
Oct 13, 2021
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Plus

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21 Plus

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was one without a narrative for much of the season, with no single car or driver able to break away from the pack. That makes choosing a top 10 especially difficult, particularly as the qualifying format meant some worthy performers were unable to enjoy their day in the sun

Formula E
Sep 19, 2021
How Mercedes and De Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way Plus

How Mercedes and De Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way

When Nyck de Vries dominated the first race of what would be the most controversial and unpredictable Formula E season to date, it looked as though Mercedes was in for a cakewalk. But as the campaign wore on, the path to a title double became increasingly rocky. Neither driver or team would be assured of the crown until the closing stages of the very final race on a weekend of struggle in Berlin

Formula E
Sep 17, 2021
The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep its original missionary winning Plus

The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep its original missionary winning

OPINION: The departure of Audi from Formula E meant its long-time driver Lucas di Grassi would need to find a new berth to stay on the grid. His deal at Venturi Racing will ensure the championship's first-ever race winner will remain competitive into the final year of the current Gen2 ruleset - although it may not be a long-term fit

Formula E
Sep 15, 2021
The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure Plus

The problems laid bare by Mercedes' impending Formula E departure

Mercedes' planned withdrawal from Formula E at the end of the 2022 season will contribute to the big hole left by fellow automotive manufacturers Audi and BMW on their departures. Although the team may stick around under a different guise, the exit of the now-reigning teams' champion underlines FE's current issues...

Formula E
Aug 18, 2021
The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion Plus

The F1 dilemma facing Mercedes' new world champion

After clinching the Formula E title at the Berlin finale, Nyck de Vries is a driver in demand. Although Mercedes would love to keep a reigning champion at the team, the allure of a Williams F1 drive may be too much for de Vries to ignore should a potential deal come to pass

Formula E
Aug 17, 2021
How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms Plus

How de Vries claimed Formula E title glory as Mercedes exit bombshell looms

As Formula E lined up to complete its seventh season at Berlin's Tempelhof Airport, all eyes were on who would be its first official FIA world champion. Despite Nyck de Vries' title lead heading into the weekend looking all but secure, the Dutchman held on - and enjoyed a good dollop of fortune - to secure a championship double for Mercedes

Formula E
Aug 16, 2021