World Rally Championship: “No Electric Cars for Five Years”

The World Rally Championship governing body the FIA hasn’t ruled out the possibility of electric cars in the future, but has decided to rule in favour of stability.

Alas, it appears that one of the only places to go to get one’s fix of electric Motorsports goodness will remain to be Formula E. FIA has announced that after internal deliberation and discussion, it has ruled in favour of banning electric cars and hybrids from the World Rally Championship for the next five years.

Craig Breen (IRL) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2017 in Torsby, Sweden on February 12, 2017
Craig Breen (IRL) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2017 in Torsby, Sweden on February 12, 2017

FIA’s Rally Director Jarmo Mahonen has commented on the decision, citing that stability was the main reason for their decision:

“We have had internal meetings about this. Now we have to start the discussions about the powertrain: is it electric? What is it?

We need to talk to the right people from the manufacturers. The big companies have their strategies and we need to see how can we fit in with these.

But right now, we need stability. There will be no electric cars for five years.”

– Jarmo Mahonen

Sebastien Ogier (FRA) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2017 in Torsby, Sweden on February 10, 2017
Sebastien Ogier (FRA) competes during the FIA World Rally Championship 2017 in Torsby, Sweden on February 10, 2017

The World Rally Championship is far from the only Motorsport to consider implementing the use of electric or hybrid vehicles, but it does rank as one of the only high-profile ones to. It’s easy to forget just how new Formula E is – with it beginning only its third year of operation.

The question of electric and hybrid vehicles poses an interesting question to fans and participants of Motorsports: Just how much of a change away from combustion is too much?

FE in 2018 will look incredible.
FE in 2018 will look incredible.

While the argument against combustion engines is highly relevant to large-scale transport and consumer-grade vehicle, the carbon footprint left due to racing events and Motorsports is a tiny fraction, although pushing these technologies is beneficial to the broader automotive industry. Therefore, the inclusion of hybrids and wholly electric vehicles seems to reside on the hopes of a performance game.