BMW Charging Full-Speed Into Formula E

The FIA has approved nine manufacturers to supply powertrains to Formula E. While eight of them come as no surprise, the ninth is the big news here.

That automaker is BMW, which has been toying with the idea of jumping into the electric racing championship for some time now. The manufacturer already supplies i3 and i8 support cars for the series, and has been steadily ramping up its partnership with Andretti Autosport until now.

While the chassis and battery packs will still be centrally supplied and common to each team, development of the powertrain opens up for the fifth season that kicks off late in 2018.

BMW is essentially the only newcomer, with the other eight already competing in the series: Abt, DS, Jaguar, Mahindra, NextEV, Penske, Renault, and Venturi. Of the current teams on the grid, that will leave only Techeetah to source its powertrain from one of the approved suppliers, much as it does now from Renault.

Conspicuously absent from the list is Mercedes, which may yet exercise its reserved spot for the fifth season but similarly source its powertrain from outside – presumably not Abt/Audi or BMW – until it can get its own program approved and up to speed.

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