Will The WRC Ever Go Fully Electric?

September 23, 2023Joe Moore

Is there any potential that the WRC could go fully electric in the future? Find out why or why not below. 

The Facts

It’s been reported that the current deal between the WRC and Compact Dynamics has been extended to 2027. Meaning the WRC will continue to use hybrid engines until the end of the 2027 season. Giving the WRC just about 3 years to decide their next move as a result. Could their next move be to go fully electric? It’s possible but highly unlikely. It’s unlikely for multiple reasons. I’ll explore some of those reasons in a minute, but first, let’s look at why this could happen. 

Why The WRC Could Go Electric 

Simply put, going electric seems to be the way of the future and what the FIA is interested in. However, that’s about where the good reasons end. The FIA will likely have interest in the WRC going fully electric as most of their championships are going down that route, or another environmentally friendly route. However, most of the FIA’s championships that are doing that take place on a closed course. 

Why The WRC Probably Won’t Go Electric

Buckle up because this is about to be long. The WRC likely won’t go electric, for a multitude of reasons. Including battery range, safety and most importantly it doesn’t make sense. Let me break each of those down further. 

Battery Range

The total kilometres of stages on a single day would require more than just a single battery charge from an electric car. So why not just charge them at service? That’s not the issue, the issue is how long they take to charge. To fully recharge the battery or batteries would take more than 30 to 45 minutes. So why not up the service times? If only it were that simple, the WRC can only close roads for a set amount of time, expanding the service times would push the entire second half of the day back. Something the WRC likely wouldn’t be keen on doing. 

Safety Reasons 

One of the biggest things the FIA and WRC promoter will have to look at with electric vehicles is safety. Not necessarily the safety of competitors, but the safety of fans and spectators. Take a look at EKO Acropolis Rally Greece there were many instances of spectators on the stage throughout the event. The WRC and event Marshalls can’t control every spectator nor sit on every corner of a stage. For this reason, rally cars need to make some loud noise. This is something electric cars don’t make a lot of, they sound like quiet vacuum cleaners. Something you probably wouldn’t hear until it was right behind you. The WRC can’t run the risk of somebody being on stage or in a bad spot and getting hit by a car. There are rules for spectators, yes, but that doesn’t always stop people from doing what they want. Electric cars work on closed courses but on an open course where spectators are right beside the road may not be the safest idea. 

It Doesn’t Make Sense

The WRC going electric just doesn’t make sense at the end of the day. It would be a venture that would end the WRC. Sure there are some electric series that work, and then there are some that fail. The WRC promoter is seeing this firsthand with the World RX. A championship that is losing fans and slowly dying out. The WRC can’t risk the same happening to the championship. It’s not worth it for the championship to take the risk. It’s a coin toss of if it’ll work or if it’ll fail miserably. 

The WRC Needs To Focus On Other Things

Instead of focusing on a fully electric future the WRC first needs to get themselves into a good place. It’s no secret the WRC isn’t doing great currently. Having only three Rally1 teams and no new ones joining in the near future it seems. The WRC should focus on trying to attract new manufacturers and fans. Will bring fully electric bring new manufacturers? Maybe, will it bring new fans? Maybe. It’s all unknown, there’s a 50% chance it will bring new manufacturers and fans and there’s a 50% chance it won’t. The WRC needs to stick with and grow what they have until they are in a comfortable enough spot to try a major change like becoming fully electric.