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Nissan Commits to Formula E

Nissan confirms entry into Formula E for Season Five, poised to take over manufacturer slot from Renault…

Photo: Formula E

Nissan will enter the FIA Formula E Championship beginning in Season Five, becoming the first Japanese manufacturer to commit to the all-electric championship.

The announcement came on Wednesday at the Tokyo Motor Show, and is expected to see the automotive giant take over Renault’s manufacturer slot, starting in 2018/19.

Further details on the transfer is expected to be revealed shortly.

Nissan joins the quartet of German auto giants Audi, Mercedes, BMW and Porsche, Indian OEMs Jaguar Land Rover and Mahindra, as well as Chinese manufacturer NIO and France’s DS Automobiles in the championship.

“As the ultimate expression of the thrill of instant acceleration and agile handling that’s at the heart of Nissan zero-emission driving, Nissan is going to electrify the Formula E championship,” said Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president of global marketing and sales, zero-emission vehicles and battery business, and chairman of Nissan’s management committee for Japan, Asia and Oceania.

“Nissan will be the first Japanese brand to enter this growing championship, bringing our long history of motorsports success to the Formula E grid.

“It will give us a global platform for bringing our pioneering Nissan Intelligent Mobility strategy to a new generation of racing fans.”

The manufacturer has long since been rumored to be entering Formula E and first looked at the possibility in Season Two.

A long-held and self-imposed rule of Renault-Nissan alliance brands not directly competing against each other in major series, however, was believed to have been one of the sticking points of it not reaching fruition earlier.

Plans are understood to have been accelerated in recent months, with Nissan Global Motorsport Director Michael Carcamo having visited the Formula E paddock at the official pre-season test in Valencia.

Carcamo and his team will take over the slot currently occupied by the Renault e.dams squad. It remains to be seen if the e.dams outfit will be part of the plans, although its drivers Nicolas Prost and Sebastien Buemi are contracted until the end of Season Five.

E-racing365 understands that some aspects of Renault’s technology and also potential engineering support is likely to be utilized for Season Five, with Nissan acknowledging that it will “leverage expertise and development already available” in its alliance with the French manufacturer.

Nissan will compete as part of a global platform strategy to spread the message of Nissan Intelligent Mobility, the company’s three-pillar modus operandi to illustrate how its vehicles are designed and powered for society at large.

The Nissan Leaf is the world’s best-selling electric car, with more than 280,000 units sold since its launch in 2010, adding up to 3.5 billion zero-emission kilometers combined.

A NISMO version of the model is set to be unveiled a the Tokyo Motor Show this week.

“Nissan’s DNA is rich in innovation in electric mobility, not to mention a long history of success in motorsports,” said Schillaci. “It makes sense that we bring these two core elements together by competing in Formula E.”

Nissan is competing with Tesla’s Model 3 and GM’s Bolt in the global EV market and aims to maintain its position as the global leader in electric car sales.

A significant marketing strategy around its Formula E program is likely to illustrate that, in its first international racing campaign since the ill-fated NISMO GT-R LM in 2015.

“To have a name like Nissan coming on board is a momentous day for the series,” said Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag.

“Not only is it great to welcome a new manufacturer to the Formula E family, it’s great to see our first Japanese manufacturer entering the frame, showing truly how global the electric revolution is.

“Japan is a country at the forefront of new technologies with one of the biggest followings of Formula E.

“The shift towards sustainable mobility is in motion and it’s unstoppable. I look forward to seeing the Nissan logo adorned on the new-look cars for season five.”

The Renault-Nissan alliance is the sixth largest automaker in the world and its involvement in the burgeoning championship will be viewed as a key milestone in its development and progression.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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