By Alan Baldwin
LONDON (Reuters) - McLaren Applied Technologies has been chosen to supply batteries to the Formula E electric car racing series in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said on Wednesday.
Season five, in 2018-19, is due to be a breakthrough for the series with the batteries developed sufficiently for drivers to complete a race with one car rather than having to pit and change mid-race as at present.
The FIA said in a statement after a meeting of its World Motor Sport Council in Paris that it had decided to reduce the contract from three to two years due to the rapid development of battery technology.
Williams Advanced Engineering, owned by McLaren's Formula One rivals, are the current providers.
McLaren Applied Technologies have been involved in Formula E since the start when they provided the electric motor, transmission and electronics in the first generation cars.
Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag told Reuters that nine major companies had bid for the latest battery tender, with media reports indicating sportscar maker Porsche were among them.
"We are doubling the amount of energy in the battery," he said of the task ahead.
"We could have taken two directions. Double the speed or double the distance. We’ve chosen to double the distance. It’s going to give a very clear sign of how much batteries have developed only in these four years of the Formula E championship.
"I think that’s a very clear message that electric cars are making huge progress and are a technology that will be really the option for everyone’s daily life."
The 2016-17 season starts in Hong Kong next week.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis)