Indian electric car manufacturer Mahindra Reva is considering an entry into the FIA Formula E championship in 2014.The electric-powered single-seater championship is set to kickoff in September next year with a 10-race calendar featuring street circuits in London, Monaco, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles and Hong Kong,among others.
Autocar India has learnt that, being the sole electric car manufacturer in the country, Mahindra Reva has shown interest in fielding a team after talks with Formula E boss Alejandro Agag took place earlier this year.Following the car’s official launch at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, Chetan Maini, chief of strategy and technology at Mahindra, is understood to have visited the Williams and McLaren (both suppliers to the Formula E) facilities. The final go-ahead is expected to come around November, right before official testing of the Formula E car is scheduled to commence.
Indycar squads Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing are the only two teams that have committed to Formula E so far.
The championship will be a spec-series in its inaugural season, with all teams using the same chassis and powertrain. However, for 2015, the teams will have to design and race their own power units, which includes the electric motor, transmission (currently supplied by McLaren)and batteries(currently supplied by Williams).
Given the open nature of the championship in 2015, Mahindra is currently evaluating the feasibility of the project. It wantsto ensure that the effort is worth the investment, since it will take up significant resources despite the fact that its Bangalore facility is the world’s largest operational plant dedicated to assembly of battery electric vehicles.
The initial on-track tests of the Formula E car are scheduled to kickoff in November, while delivery to the teams will start in April. The 10-team, 20-car grid is likely to be run centrally out of a Formula E facility in Silverstone.
Once the cars are assembled and running, testing is expected to start in May. Apart from adjusting the suspension settings in other spec single-seater championships, the teams will also have access to the ECU which will allow them to tweak the rate of battery usage vis-à-vis power delivery.
Several ex-F1/current-WEC drivers are in the frame, including Indian driver Karun Chandhok who is expected to take up the mantle for Mahindra should they decide to go ahead. Other drivers in the frame for the series include Bruno Senna, Lucas Di Grassi, TimoGlock, KamuiKobayashi, Neel Jani and Nicholas Prost.
Current development driver Lucas di Grassi will kick off the testing programme, with other drivers expected to join in on the on-track action as well.
Mahindra's current motorsport involvement includes participation in the Moto 3 Grand Prix racing in partnership with Swiss constructor Suter and competing in the Indian National Rally championship with the XUV 500.