BMW to go electric racing in Formula E

Car Technology Motorsport
BMW Formula E

BMW is joining the growing list of car manufacturers competing in the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship.

The German brand intends to campaign a full works team in the fifth season of the international series, in 2018-19, as part of a realignment of BMW’s motorsport strategy first revealed in 2016.

The manufacturer will join forces with the established Andretti Formula E team, which will adopt new drivetrains developed by the brand under a newly established BMW i Motorsport banner. This ties in with the i range of electric road cars being produced by BMW.

‘Development laboratory’

The Formula E programme, which sees top-profile electric races in the centres of cities such as New York, Paris and Hong Kong, is being driven by technology, says BMW development head Klaus Frolich. “We are using Formula E as a development laboratory, operating under the unique conditions that prevail in motor racing – with unique demands and opportunities. The borders between production and motor racing development are more blurred at BMW i Motorsport than in any other project.

“The same engineers that are working on the future of electromobility for the streets also take on an environment that is fully focused on performance alongside their colleagues from BMW Motorsport – an environment, in which they face strong opposition.”

BMW is the latest of several manufacturers to adopt Formula E, with Renault, DS Automobiles and electric car manufacturer Faraday Future already involved. The most recent converts are Jaguar and Audi, which abandoned its phenomenally successful world endurance and Le Mans programme to switch to the single seater series.

Formula E New York

The high-visibility city locations of Formula E races, such as here in New York, are another appeal for car manufacturers.

Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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