Days after Audi confirmed plans to field its own team in the Formula E Championship, BMW has said it will do the same.
BMW will trail Audi by a year, however, having committed to the 2018/2019 season for the start of its Formula E campaign.
BMW currently participates in Formula E as a partner of American team Andretti Formula E, but has hinted on multiple occasions that it might join the fray with its own team for the 2018/2019 season, Formula E’s fifth. Andretti Formula E will morph into BMW’s factory team which may end up competing under the auspices of BMW i.
The 2018/2019 season will see Formula E take the next major step towards becoming a credible form of motorsport. It’s when teams will finally start using a single car per race, rather than the current two due to batteries not holding enough charge to last a race.
Teams will be using common chassis supplied by Spark Technologies, as they do currently. The chassis design for the 2018/2019 is said to be adopting a new, futuristic look. Teams will also be using common batteries supplied by McLaren Applied Technologies, though they’ll be responsible for their own powertrain, transmission, suspension and software systems.
BMW says the lessons learned in Formula E should help the development of its next-generation electric cars. As BMW explains, Formula E is the “perfect development laboratory” for electric car technology.
Other automakers already competing in Formula E are DS, Faraday Future, Jaguar, Mahindra, Nio (formerly NextEV), Renault and Venturi. Mercedes-Benz has been reserved one of two available spots for the 2018/2019 season but is yet to announce a commitment.
Formula E is in the late stages of the 2016/2017 season, the sport’s third. The championship will be stopping in New York this weekend and will then host two more rounds in Montreal in a fortnight. Currently leading the championship is Renault e.Dams and its star driver Sebastian Buemi.