Since the first season of Formula E – the all-electric single-seater championship – BMW i has been the Official Vehicle Partner and among the vehicles it has supplied the organisers is the i8 Coupe which has served as the Safety Car.
This year, at the fourth championship round in Chile, a new i8 Coupe was supplied as the Qualcomm Safety Car for the championship. This is a next-generation model with a range of technical advances.
The new flagship of the BMW i car fleet for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship makes use of the Qualcomm Halo Prototype Technology inductive charging system. The system uses no cable connections and recharges the high-capacity battery pack of this special i8 Coupe (combined fuel consumption: 53 kms/litre) up to 80% in just one hour, with a performance of 7.2 kilowatts.
To do so, the car drives onto a special plate which immediately initialises the wireless charging procedure. This saves time and effort, which can be vitally important during races on a Formula E weekend.
It is not just the inductive charging system that makes the Qualcomm Safety Car different to the production car. Other areas include a roll bar, rear wing and rear hatch made of carbonfibre, a front splitter, sports seats (from the BMW M4 GTS), 4-point belt, a roof-mounted signal light system, BMW M carbon ceramic brakes and a sports chassis.
Alongside the i8, the new BMW i3 (shown above) – which is fully electric – serves as Medical Car and Race Director’s Car, while the X5 xDrive40e has the role of Rescue Car.