BMW Logo
Partner Information
Based Germany Munich, Germany
Founder Franz Josef Popp
Karl Rapp
Camillo Castiglioni
Announced 30/06/2014
Broke Unknown
Role Official Vehicle Supplier
Official Website BMW i
 Bayerische Motoren Werks AG, more commonly known as BMW, are a German based car manufacturer, who are a partner and 'Official Vehicle Partner' for the FIA Formula E Championship.[1] To fulfil their role, BMW (through their 'i' division) and Qualcomm (a research and development firm) provide two BMW Qualcomm i8s as Safety Cars and two BMW Qualcomm i3s for other roles.[1]


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.[2] 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.[2] By 1923, BMW were producing motorcycles, with a move to cars in 1928.[2] The effective call to arms by Adolf Hitler in 1933 also saw BMW return to manufacturing aircraft engines as well.[2]

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.[2] A slump in 1958 saw BMW almost lose their automotive branch, but a series of moderately successful deals in 1959 ensured that it survived.[2]

Entrepreneurial ExpansionEdit

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.[2] A partnership was initially formed, with HG gradually absorbed into BMW over the following years.[2] 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.[2]

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).[2] 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.[2]

Formula E HistoryEdit

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 rebranded 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.[2]

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.[3] 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 relatity, the terms originally agreed upon remained the same.[4] The BMW Qualcomm i8's first use as a Safety Car came at the 2014 Putrajaya ePrix, after an accident for Sam Bird


BMW provide, at present, four vehicles to the championship, working alongside US firm Qualcomm to both develop and work on the vehicles.

BMW Qualcomm i3Edit

Main Article: BMW Qualcomm i3

The BMW Qualcomm i3 is an all electrically powered hatchback car, based on the standard BMW 3 series.[5] 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 i8Edit

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 .[6] 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.[6] 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.


Videos & Images:


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 'BMW to become official vehicle supplier',, (FIA Formula E, 30/06/2014), (Accessed 02/04/2015)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 'BMW',, (WikiMedia, 02/04/2015), (Accessed 02/04/2015)
  3. 'Formula E Qualcomm Safety Car with Wireless EV Charging',, (Qualcomm Technologies Inc., 15/09/2014),, (Accessed 21/03/2016)
  4. 'BMW becomes official vehicle partner to Formula E',, (FIA Formula E, 12/09/2014),, (Accessed 21/03/2016)
  5. 'THE NEW FORM OF DRIVING PLEASURE: The all-electric BMW i3',, (BMW Group, 2016),, (Accessed 21/03/2016)
  6. 6.0 6.1 'THE MOST PROGRESSIVE SPORTS CAR: The BMW i8',, (BMW Group, 2016),, (Accessed 21/03/2016)
FIA Formula E Partners
BMW DHL Michelin Qualcomm Renault TAG Heuer
Formula E Holdings FIA ABB voestalpine
1st Round CNBC Julius Bär
Spark Technical Partners
Spark Dallara Hewland McLaren