BMW i8 Hits The Track With Inductive Charging As Formula E Safety Car

This weekend saw Formula E roll out a new safety car at the Santiago ePrix. As in seasons past, it’s based on the BMW i8, but features a number of upgrades to keep it out ahead of the electric racing pack.

Those start with the enhanced powertrain that BMW rolled out for the road-going i8 coupe and roadster. A 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine now produces 231 horsepower, with another 143 from the upgraded electric motor and a bigger 11.6-kWh battery pack. The combined 374 horsepower is enough to send the plug-in hybrid sports car to 60 in 4.4 seconds, traveling 33 miles between charges on electric power alone.

There’s more to the new i8 safety car than what BMW’s put into the road model, though. It also features a stiffer suspension, carbon-ceramic brakes, the bucket seats from the M4 GTS, four-point harnesses, a full roll cage, and a carbon-fiber aero kit. The safety car also wears a unique livery and emergency lighting on the roof.

The most intriguing element, however, may be the inductive charging system. Instead of having to plug the car in to charge, the driver simply parks it on top of a special plate and the vehicle charges itself back up. The technology is provided by sponsor Qualcomm, and can full the battery pack up to 80 percent in just an hour.

“Thank you to BMW i for bringing such a great livery on my new Safety Car,” said the series’ designated safety-car drive Bruno Correira. “The new seats and the roll bar make the new car a little bit lighter than the old one. The performance and the size of the battery have been increased. All in all driving the car is great fun.”

The car was deployed early in the race after a number of cars crashed on the opening lap. But it wasn’t the only new Bimmer on hand for the event in the Chilean capital. As the series’ “official vehicle partner,” BMW also provides a couple of i3s as medical and race-control cars, and an X5 xDrive40e to serve as a more robust rescue vehicle.

more photos...
  • europeon

    So… the future of racing is life size scalextric cars.

    • LWOAP


  • Bo Hanan

    I can’t see a reason why someone would buy this car. To expensive for what it competes with. And underperforms against cars at its price level.

    • Matt

      Looks… it’s like driving a concept car.

    • Pretty much the only cool electric sportscar you can buy, and also BMW badges.

  • karmat

    I’ll be impressed when they can charge it inductively while it’s driving using cables embedded in the track.

Tesla To Start Building Its European Gigafactory Next Year

Tesla wants the new plant to be up and running by 2021, with the Model Y the first model to be produced .

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Electric SUV Shows Up In Real Life Photos

The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E will offer up to 300 miles (483 km) of driving range.

Forza Italia: Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Drag Races Lamborghini Urus

Can the smaller, less powerful and lighter Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio beat the 641 HP Lamborghini Urus?.

Range Rover Hunter Doubles As A Sports Car And An Off-Roader

This eye-catching Range Rover concept features an advanced suspension that would allow it to play both roles.

Someone Paid $65k For A BMW E30 325i, Albeit A Rather Nice One

This 325i has just 6,794 miles, but still, $65k is too much for a non-M3 Bimmer.

Taking A Seven-Year Car Loan Is A Really Dumb Decision, Yet Many Americans Do It

The lower monthly payments attract buyers, but they fail to realize the interest rates are much higher.

Lyft Adding 200 Electric Vehicles To Its Denver Fleet

This is Lyft’s largest single deployment of EVs to date, and also the largest in Colorado’s history.

If You Like Audi’s New-Gen A6, Then You’ll Love The 2020 S6

A big, sports-oriented, diesel-powered S6 Sedan sounds like an interesting package, doesn’t it?.

Hunkt Canticie Is Yet Another Chinese Range Rover Sport Knock-Off

The Hunkt Canticie is priced at roughly a tenth of what a Range Rover Sport sells for .

Get One Of The Very Last 2010 Porsche 911 Sport Classics For “Just” $600,000

This is number 237 of only 250 911 Sport Classics ever made and has less than 700 miles on the odo.