That cat is electric! Jaguar will enter Formula E next season

(credit: Jaguar Land Rover)

Jaguar has been on quite the roll recently. The company made its name in the 1950s and 1960s with cars like the C-Type (the first use of disc brakes in a car) and the E-Type. But by the mid-1980s, things weren't looking so good. Owned for a time by British Leyland, it suffered from industrial malaise and chronic underinvestment. Things looked better under Ford's ownership for a while, but a foray into Formula 1 proved disastrous, and a misguided reliance on focus groups led to underwhelmingly retro-styled cars like X-Type (built on a Ford platform) and XJ (X350, which under that boring skin was actually quite clever).

Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Tata Motors in 2008. And the Indian parent company has done what many Jaguar fans—your author included—had been crying out for: invested heavily in the brand. Lightweight aluminum chassis have been a focus, but so too has technology. The C-X75 supercar may never have made it to the showroom (although you can see it in Spectre), but the boffins at the company's Gaydon HQ have been working on some rather exciting stuff like remote-control via smartphones and full-windscreen heads-up displays. Today, the company announced that it will return to the racetrack with a full factory effort, competing in Formula E next season (Autumn 2016).

Jaguar will partner with Williams Advanced Engineering (a sister company to the Williams F1 team); the companies collaborated on the C-X75, and Williams currently provides the batteries used by every Formula E car. In a press release, Jaguar Land Rover's engineering director Nick Rogers said, "Electric vehicles will absolutely play a role in Jaguar Land Rover's future product portfolio, and Formula E will give us a unique opportunity to further our development of electrification technologies. The Championship will enable us to engineer and test our advanced technologies under extreme performance conditions."

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