Renault, engine supplier to the likes of Red Bull Racing and a former F1 champion itself, has signed up with the innovative Formula E Championship as an official technical partner.

The French automaker joins the likes of McLaren, Drayson Racing and Spark Racing Technology as Formula E partners, with whom it will help develop the all-electric race cars for Formula E’s inaugural season next year.

Using its extensive motorsport know-how and facilities, Renault will collaborate with Spark Racing Technology to optimize the electric and electronic layout and performance of the powertrain. Its focus will be on the safety and reliability of the cars.

Each of the teams campaigning the inaugural season of Formula E will use a common chassis, which will now be labeled the Spark-Renault. Powering the cars will be an electric motor sourced from McLaren.

Renault and its alliance partner Nissan are major proponents of electric cars, so it’s only natural we’d see their involvement in Formula E.

“Formula E is an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the excellence and the reliability of our EV solutions,” Renault product planner Philippe Klein said in a statement. “We believe that motorsport is an efficient manner to promote the efficiency of new technologies, and we’re eager to use [Formula E] to show our technology is the best.”

The Formula E Championship is an FIA-sanctioned event featuring racing cars powered exclusively by electric energy. It represents a vision for the future of motorsport over the coming decades and will see races held all over the globe. So far, the cities of Miami, Los Angeles, Beijing, London, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Rome and Malaysia’s Putrajaya have been selected to host one of the zero-emission races.

The plan is for a grid of 10 teams and 20 drivers in 2014. Each of the races, known as an “Electric Prix,” will take place in a single day, including qualifying and the actual race. The races are expected to be one hour in length, yet the projected run time for the cars is just 25 minutes. To get around this, each driver will have two cars so that when the first runs out of juice, the driver simply pits and hops into the waiting car.


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