Mercedes-Benz is set to join the list of growing manufacturers in Formula E come 2018, the fifth season of the all-electric racing championship. This comes days after BMW announced its return to Le Mans as well as a Formula E debut in 2018. The latter is currently working with Andretti Autosport to familiarize themselves with the series before 2018.

Audi has been part of Formula E as ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport Formula E Team, but the team will now receive full factory backing starting in 2017, the fourth season. Other key manufacturers include Jaguar, Renault, Mahindra and PSA’s DS brand.

That said, these manufacturers are in one way or another active in the electric car scene which has picked up quickly in the past few months. Mercedes launched their new EQ brand at Paris Motor Show 2016 which will represent full electric cars from the German car maker. They plan to launch 10 electric car models by 2025 to make up for 15-25% of their global sales. Formula E like every other Motorsport field will provide a perfect research and development platform for any key player in the electric car segment.

Speaking about their new decision to join Formula E, Mercedes-Benz Head of Motorsport, Toto Wolff said: “We have been watching the growth of Formula E with great interest,” said Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff in a statement.

“At the current time, we are looking at all the options available in the future of motor racing, and we are very pleased with an agreement that secures us an opportunity to enter the series in season five,” he said. “Electrification will play a major role in the future of the automotive industry — racing has always been a technology R&D platform for the motor industry, and this will make Formula E very relevant in the future.”

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