LONDON (Reuters) - Jaguar is to launch an all-electric support series of races to accompany the Formula E championship late next year, the British-based carmaker said on Tuesday.
The world's first production-based electric series, revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, will start up alongside Formula E's fifth season and feature cars based on Jaguar's I-PACE performance SUV.
Jaguar Land Rover's first battery electric model is due to go on sale in late 2018. The company, owned by India's Tata Motors, has said all its new cars will be available in an electric or hybrid version from 2020.
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Up to 20 cars will take part in 10 races, each lasting half an hour, that will be held on the same circuits and weekends as Formula E in cities around the world including Hong Kong, New York and Paris.
Jaguar also has a team competing in Formula E, whose fourth championship starts in Hong Kong in December and ends in Montreal in July 2018.
"With the launch of the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY we have strengthened our commitment to battery electric vehicles, international motorsport and Formula E," said Jaguar Racing chairman Gerd Mauser in a statement.
He expected the series to serve as a 'ladder' for young drivers into Formula E.
Formula E is increasingly of interest to major manufacturers, with Formula One world champions Mercedes and Le Mans 24 Hours winners Porsche due to enter season six in 2019/20.
Other manufacturers already involved in the electric series include BMW and Audi as well as Renault, Citroen and India's Mahindra.
European car bosses at the Frankfurt auto show were beginning to address the realities of mass vehicle electrification, and its consequences for jobs and profit.
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Keith Weir)