Porsche and Mercedes are joining Formula E next season. But they aren’t the German automakers connecting to the electric grid. So, too, is BMW, which is stepping up its involvement in the series. And it just ran its new electric racer for the first time.
The new BMW iFE.18 ran at the BMW Driving Academy in Maisach, on the outskirts of Munich. Factory racing driver Tom Blomqvist handled driving duties. And along its flanks is printed its mission statement: TechLab for BMW iNEXT.
That’s what the Bavarian automaker calls its forward-looking electric vehicle project. And its first fully electric race car serves as its test bed.
“The BMW iFE.18 is a milestone for our company,” said BMW racing chief Jens Marquardt. “After months of excellent collaboration between the engineers from production and racing development, we can all now see the result in action. This Formula E project has seen the most remarkable technology transfer between production and motorsport in the history of BMW.”
The German marque has been part of the Formula E program from the beginning. But its involvement has revolved principally around providing its i3 and i8 hybrids as support vehicles. It’s now stepping up its collaboration with the Andretti team.
The iFE.18 is based on the second-generation chassis that the series organizers revealed in Geneva, but with the manufacturer’s own electric powertrain package. Compared to the i3, the iFE.18 is 50 percent lighter, 66 percent more compact, revs 400 percent higher, and produces 100 percent more power.
Once testing is complete, it will get its own unique livery to represent the new BMW i Motorsport program. We’ll be on the lookout when the series undertakes its next test session in Spain next week.