M-Sport working on electric rally car aimed at one-day events

World Rally Championship team M-Sport has started working on an electric rally car

M-Sport working on electric rally car aimed at one-day events

The reigning champion team says the all-new car - which will likely be based on a Ford Fiesta R5 chassis - is being aimed at domestic, single-day events in an effort to discover what length of competition is sustainable under battery power.

"We're always looking for ways to challenge ourselves," M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson told Autosport. "And this is the next step in technology in the sport.

"I'm not going to give you any of the technical details - I can't because we're working with other companies who share this vision and we've signed NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) - but suffice to say we're on with it and if things continue to happen and we're able to continue and make progress then I would hope that we could have a car running this year.

"That would be something in an R5 shell, it wouldn't be the finished car."

The focus of the car is national-level rallying, with Wilson keen to produce a sustainable, four-wheel drive car at a competitive price.

The project would also underpin M-Sport's future commitment to any regulatory change moving the WRC towards electric.

"At the moment this isn't about the World Rally Championship," he added.

"All I'm interested in to start with is producing a car that's going to be capable of winning a one-day event at a competitive price.

"There's definitely a market for a four-wheel drive car like this and I'm confident the technology is there to do it.

"If you look at a modern electric [road] car, they're capable of running for 300 or 350 miles between charges.

"A BTRDA [the second step on the British rallying ladder] round or an event at that sort of level is around 35-40 competitive miles with not a huge amount of road mileage."

Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbroook said there was no urgency from the manufacturer to start producing electric rally cars.

"As we look at our road car cycle plan, there's definitely a split of internal combustion, hybrid and full electric and we need the same in motorsport," he told Autosport.

"We don't necessarily want all of our series to go electric, we want a mix.

"In WRC we're looking for technology to continue to advance; is it ready for full electric now? No, but things like eTurbo might make sense."

An electric rally car has already been developed in the UK under the Project eRally banner.

The Renault Zoe has competed, but is currently restricted by Motor Sports Association rules to single-venue events, and is aimed at the Junior and Senior 1000 Rally Championship for 1-litre cars.

shares
comments
Citroen and Kris Meeke want Sebastien Loeb to extend WRC comeback
Previous article

Citroen and Kris Meeke want Sebastien Loeb to extend WRC comeback

Next article

Rally Finland revamp removes Ouninpohja stage for 2018 WRC round

Rally Finland revamp removes Ouninpohja stage for 2018 WRC round
How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally Plus

How Rovanpera tamed a wild Safari Rally

The Safari Rally acted as a brutal test of driver and car resolve as multiple retirements opened the path for a historic Toyota 1-2-3-4 triumph, headed by star Kalle Rovanpera. But keeping things clean was only half of the challenge, as a well-timed charge when conditions worsened allowed the Finn to take control

WRC
Jun 27, 2022
How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph Plus

How Tanak turned the tables to deliver Hyundai a timely WRC triumph

The 2019 champion has been a bit-part player recently, but Ott Tanak ended a 15-month drought in fine style with a dominant win in Sardinia. On a weekend when championship leader Kalle Rovanpera struggled with cleaning the road, his Hyundai rival has made his belated arrival into the title race and given cause for those predicting a walkover from the Toyota star to pause

WRC
Jun 6, 2022
How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead Plus

How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead

Although the Rally Portugal entry list featured World Rally Championship royalty in Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier, victory was secured by rallying's rising star in Kalle Rovanpera. Here's the story of his 2022 hat-trick, as his key rivals faltered among the gravel and asphalt ahead of them

WRC
May 23, 2022
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Plus

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Plus

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Plus

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Plus

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Autosport donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the trials and tribulations of a rally mechanic

WRC
Apr 17, 2022
The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer Plus

The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer

Taking his first step into the Junior World Rally Championship category, McRae Kimathi - named after 1995 world champion Colin - found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Sweden's snow and ice. Having impressed, Kimathi hopes to blaze a trail to the top level of WRC and help other African drivers to step onto the ladder

WRC
Mar 8, 2022