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Williams to provide batteries for Formula E series

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Formula One world champions Williams will design and provide batteries for cars racing in a new Formula E electric series due to start next year, they said on Tuesday.

Williams are the second Formula One team to become involved in the FIA-sanctioned, city-based championship, with McLaren signing up last November to provide the engines, transmission and electronics.

The Grove-based team said their Williams Advanced Engineering division, which finds commercial applications for F1-based technologies, would be the sole supplier of battery technology.

Spark, led by Frenchman Frederic Vasseur, is part of a consortium that will design and assemble the 42 race cars required.

Formula E will involve 10 teams and 20 drivers with races scheduled in at least 10 cities around the world, with Rome, Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Los Angeles, London, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Bangkok and Putrajaya in Malaysia named so far.

"This is an exciting new racing series that will play a key role in highlighting the growing relevance of technologies originally developed for motorsport to the wider world," said team founder and principal Frank Williams in a statement.

"Energy efficiency is an important issue for Williams and whilst our work in this field is now spanning a number of market sectors beyond racing, motorsport will always be the ultimate proving ground for our technologies."

Williams's battery energy storage expertise developed from Formula One after the introduction of Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS) in 2009.

The company has developed battery and flywheel energy storage systems for motorsport - including the Le Mans winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro - and non-motorsport applications such as London buses.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Clare Fallon)

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