Greenwashing or honest effort?

If you watch the video (below) of the new Nissan entry for season five of the ABB FIA Formula E get a livery applied to its edgy carbon fiber bodywork, you will see no stickers from any oil companies. That may change as the squad gears up with some pre-season testing on the Circuit Ricardo Tormo located in sunny Valencia, Spain. Though it seems an unlikely pairing — an all-electric racing team hooking up with an oil company — it's now official: the Nissan e.dams team has partnered with Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Though it's easy to dismiss as an attempt at "greenwashing," (defined by the Cambridge English dictionary as an effort  "to make people believe that your company is doing more to protect the environment than it really is), the oil energy company has made moves of late to invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Says its vice president of global retail marketing, Joerg Wienke,

"We're delighted to be partnering with a company like Nissan, which shares our commitment to supporting a lower-carbon transportation system. In response to customer demand, we are increasingly investing in our electric vehicle charging network, whether it's in people's homes or workplaces, or at Shell stations. This partnership will help us co-engineer products and charging services to improve the driving experience for EV drivers around the world."

If the outfit lives up to its words and uses information gleaned from the race team to improve charging services for EV drivers, it would certainly be welcome. Charging infrastructure, especially here in the U.S., is sorely lacking for anyone who doesn't own a Tesla and so we welcome any improvements.

The fifth Formula E season, which will see a fleet of all-new cars with more power and bigger batteries take to the track kicks of on December 15th in (somewhat ironically) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. More details about the partnership and testing schedule await your perusal in the official press release below.

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan will make its official on-track debut and begin a new brand partnership with Royal Dutch Shell PLC when the ABB FIA Formula E championship stages its preseason test next week.

The Nissan e.dams team will conduct three days of testing at Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, alongside the other 10 teams competing in the upcoming season of the all-electric racing championship.

As the first Japanese company to enter Formula E, Nissan will draw on its track record of selling more than 365,000 Nissan LEAF vehicles since introducing the model in 2010. The company has used its experience building electric vehicles for the road to develop the all-new powertrain for its Formula E race car, which features a bespoke electric motor, inverter and gearbox.

"Formula E represents the performance side of Nissan Intelligent Mobility – our vision for changing how cars are powered, driven and integrated into society," said Roel de Vries, Nissan's global head of brand and marketing. "As the world leader in delivering electric cars to consumers, we're eager to work with a renowned energy company like Shell to promote zero-emission mobility through this championship."

Joerg Wienke, vice president of global retail marketing at Royal Dutch Shell, said: "We're delighted to be partnering with a company like Nissan, which shares our commitment to supporting a lower-carbon transportation system. In response to customer demand, we are increasingly investing in our electric vehicle charging network, whether it's in people's homes or workplaces, or at Shell stations. This partnership will help us co-engineer products and charging services to improve the driving experience for EV drivers around the world."

2015-16 Formula E champion Sebastien Buemi and fellow racer Alex Albon will drive for the Nissan e.dams team during next week's test and the upcoming season, which begins Dec. 15.

"Nissan is bringing a lot of EV knowledge to the championship, and e.dams has been a strong contender in Formula E from the start," said Buemi. "Hopefully, we'll be very successful."

Season five also marks the debut of a new race format and a new generation of cars for the Formula E series.

"Next week's test will be the first chance for everyone in Formula E to compare themselves against the competition with their new cars," said Albon. "It'll be a whole new experience for everyone."

 

Sebastian Buemi No. 23 Nissan e.dams Profile Age: 29 Birthdate: October 31, 1988 Hometown: Aigle, Switzerland Nationality: Swiss Height:175cm 2015/16 FIA Formula E Champion

Alex Albon No. 22 Nissan e.dams Profile  Age: 22 Birthdate: March 23, 1996 Hometown: London, England Lives: Milton Keynes, England Nationality: Thai Height:186cm

Track Facts Circuit: Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, Spain  Type: Permanent Road Course Configuration: National Circuit Turns: 11 Distance: 3.08km / 1.92 mile 2017 Fastest Lap: 1m21.822s   Schedule Tuesday, October 16 - 9. 9:00 - 12:00 / 14:00 - 17:00 Wednesday, October 17 - 9. 9:00 - 12:00 / 14:00 - 17:00 Thursday, October 18 - Media Day - no track running Friday, October 19 - 9. 9:00 - 12:00 / 14:00 - 17:00

2018-2019 Calendar Dec 15: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia January 12: Marrakesh, Morocco January 26: Santiago, Chile February 16: Mexico City, Mexico March 10: Hong Kong, China March 23: Sanya, China April 13: Rome, Italy April 27: Paris, France May 11: Monte Carlo, Monaco May 25: Berlin, Germany June 9: TBA

July 13/14: New York, USA

Source: Nissan