BMW Logo
Based Flag of Germany Munich, Germany
Founded 7 March 1916
Founder Flag of Germany Karl Rapp
Key People Norbert Reithofer (Chairman)
Harald Krüger (CEO)
Industry Automobiles/Official Vehicle Supplier
Formula E Record
Début Flag of Saudi Arabia 2018 Ad Diriyah E-Prix
Total Entries 13 (13 Starts)
Wins Poles FLs
1 2 0
Total Points 156
Former Team(s) Unknown
Current Season
Team(s) Flag of Germany BMW i Andretti Motorsport
Car BMW iFE.18
Bayerische Motoren Werks AG, more commonly known as BMW, are a German based automotive manufacturer, who are a manufacturer and 'Official Vehicle Partner' in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.[1] Specialising in luxury and high performance vehicles, BMW are one of the most recognised brands in the world, and have been a major partner of Formula E since June 2014.[1]

Initially, BMW, through their "i" division, worked alongside Qualcomm, a research and development firm, to provide two BMW Qualcomm i8s as Safety Cars and two BMW Qualcomm i3s for other roles, having signed a deal with Formula E Holdings to supply vehicles to the Championship.[1] However, ahead of the 2018/19 season BMW would join the series as a competitive manufacturer, partnering with the Andretti Formula E team to build their own electric powertrains.[2]


BMW were founded during the First World War by a trio of men, namely Franz Josef Popp, Karl Rapp and Camillo Castiglioni, whom worked for Rapp Motorenwerke, an aircraft engine manufacturer.[3] They restructured the Rapp firm to form BMW in 1916/17, although by 1919, the firm was forced into other areas of manufacture by the Treaty of Versailles.[3] By 1923, BMW were producing motorcycles, with a move to cars in 1928.[3] The effective call to arms by Adolf Hitler in 1933 also saw BMW return to manufacturing aircraft engines as well.[3]

After just missing out on becoming the first firm to successfully power a jet-powered fighter plane in 1944, BMW began to drift further into the motorcycle and automotive industries, with the end of the Second World War causing a slight reduction in their aviation advances.[3] A slump in 1958 saw BMW almost lose their automotive branch, but a series of moderately successful deals in 1959 ensured that it survived.[3]

Entrepreneurial Expansion

The 1960s saw BMW begin a process of expansion, highlighted by their acquisition of the Hans Glas company in 1966, handing them a number of highly skilled engineers.[3] A partnership was initially formed, with HG gradually absorbed into BMW over the following years.[3] The 1990s proved to be the next era of expansion, with the firm's 1995 purchase of DesignworksUSA (started in 1992) and the Rover Group (a group of British marques and names, including Rover, MG, Land Rover, Morris and Austin) in 1994.[3]

In 2001, BMW relaunched the British classic, the Mini, just months after selling their hold over the majority of the Rover Group (which was split apart by the sale).[3] The i division of the firm was then founded in the late 2000s, culminating in the 2014 release of the i8 hybrid and i3 electric cars, both of which are used in Formula E.[3]

Formula E History

BMW were first announced as the 'Official Vehicle Supplier' for the Formula E Championship on the 30th of June 2014, agreeing to supply a 'fleet' of vehicles for the 2014/15 Formula E season.[1] Working together with Qualcomm, another Formula E partner, two BMW i8s (re-branded as Qualcomm i8s) and two i3s (again re-branded to include Qualcomm) were to be provided for every ePrix and Formula E event.[1] The i8s serve the series as Safety Cars during the races, appearing for accidents or track safety incidents, with the two i3s serving in different roles, one as the Medical Car and the other as the Driver Extraction Vehicle.[3]

Qualcomm's involvement with BMW is for the recharging of the cars, primarily around the concept of wireless recharging, first tested at the 2014 Donington Test.[4] BMW's role was later changed to being the 'Official Vehicle Partner' on the eve of the 2014 Beijing ePrix on the 12th of September, although in reality, the terms originally agreed upon remained the same.[5] The BMW Qualcomm i8's first use as a Safety Car came at the 2014 Putrajaya ePrix, after an accident for Sam Bird.

Competitive Compulsion: 2018/19

However, after three seasons supplying vehicles to the Championship, BMW announced their intentions to join the series as a competitor, signing a deal with the Andretti Formula E team prior to the 2017/18 season.[6] Several BMW engineers duly worked alongside the Andretti team throughout the 2017/18 season, while the "i" division worked to build their first powertrain prior to their debut in 2018/19 season.[2] BMW and Andretti's FE team would subsequently merge ahead of the 2018/19 campaign, forming the BMW i Andretti Motorsport team, with BMW factory drivers António Félix da Costa and Alexander Sims signed to race for the team.[7]


BMW currently provide four vehicles to the FE Championship, working alongside US firm Qualcomm to both develop and work on the vehicles. Furthermore, from 2018/19 onward, BMW will supply their own powertrains to compete in the series, primarily run by their factory team: BMW i Andretti Motorsport.[2]

BMW Qualcomm i3

Main article: BMW Qualcomm i3

The BMW Qualcomm i3 is an all electrically powered hatchback car, based on the standard BMW 3 series.[8] The two Qualcomm i3s are stripped of their road car interiors, and refitted with equipment to suit their roles, with FIA technical staff responsible for both of them. One i3 serves as the Medical Car , attending accidents which also require the deployment of the Safety Car, with Dr. Phil Rayner (chief medical officer for the Championship) in the car. The second i3 is used as the Driver Extraction Vehicle, carrying equipment required to free a trapped driver.

BMW Qualcomm i8

Main article: BMW Qualcomm i8

Qualcomm i8 Safety Car

The BMW Qualcomm i8 being tested in its role as the Safety Car

BMW also provide two i8 sportcars to the championship, both of which serve as Safety Cars .[9] With a hybrid engine capable of reaching 100 kph from stand still in 4.4 seconds, the Qualcomm i8 is one of a very select number of cars capable of fulfilling the role of the Safety Car suitably enough for the field of Spark-Renault SRT_01Es that make up the Formula E grid.[9] Only one of the i8s will appear on the track at any time, with experience racing driver Bruno Correia at the wheel of the primary car.

BMW iFE.18

Main article: BMW iFE.18

The iFE.18 is BMW's first FE powertrain, based around the Spark SRT05e chassis and run by BMW's factory team during the 2018/19 season.[2]


Videos & Images:


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 'BMW to become official vehicle supplier',, (FIA Formula E, 30/06/2014), (Accessed 02/04/2015)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 '11 teams set to compete in fifth season Formula E',, (FIA Formula E, 28/08/2018),, (Accessed 28/08/2018)
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 'BMW',, (WikiMedia, 02/04/2015), (Accessed 02/04/2015)
  4. 'Formula E Qualcomm Safety Car with Wireless EV Charging',, (Qualcomm Technologies Inc., 15/09/2014),, (Accessed 21/03/2016)
  5. 'BMW becomes official vehicle partner to Formula E',, (FIA Formula E, 12/09/2014),, (Accessed 21/03/2016)
  6. 'Nine manufacturers homologated for Season 5',, (FIA Formula E, 21/03/2017),, (Accessed 22/03/2017)
  7. 'BMW takes covers off season five challenger',, (FIA Formula E, 14/09/2018),, (Accessed 14/09/2018)
  8. 'THE NEW FORM OF DRIVING PLEASURE: The all-electric BMW i3',, (BMW Group, 2016),, (Accessed 21/03/2016)
  9. 9.0 9.1 'THE MOST PROGRESSIVE SPORTS CAR: The BMW i8',, (BMW Group, 2016),, (Accessed 21/03/2016)
FIA Formula E Partners
Formula E HoldingsFédération Internationale de l'AutomobileABBvoestalpine
BMWDHLMichelinQualcommRenaultTAG Heuer
AllianzAntofagasta MineralsBoschEnelHeinekenHugo BossJulius BärModisSaudiaUmicore
Spark Technical Partners
Spark Racing TechnologiesBremboDallaraHewlandMcLarenWilliams
Former Partners
1st RoundCNBCRimac Automobili
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