The impressive BMW i8 hybrid sports car has officially been unveiled as the Formula E Safety Car. The car was revealed in a special ceremony at Donington Park.
This BMW i8 is particular noteworthy for the fact that it can be charged wirelessly. Formula E and BMW partnered together to bring the technology to the car. The wireless charging sees the i8 being parked over a resonant magnetic induction pad with electrical current flowing into the i8’s battery pack. Throughout the Formula E season, it will be driven by Bruno Correia.
The BMW i8 is of course the second model from BMW’s new BMW i-Series. It is intended as a sports car and provides a forward-looking, revolutionary interpretation of BMW’s hallmark driving experience. It is a 2+2-seater with a design that BMW refer to as LifeDrive architecture. It gets a “life module” passenger cell made from carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP), as you would expect from any premium sports car. Total weight is just 1,490 kg, bearing in mind the plug-in hybrid architecture.
The production-spec i8 was of course revealed to the public last year at the Frankfurt Auto Show with production commencing in April. The drive system utilises a brand new three-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology. From 1.5 litres, the i8 manages an output of 231 hp, a maximum torque of 320 Nm. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. The petrol engine is supplemented by an electric motor with an output of 131 hp and maximum torque of 250 Nm. The power from this lithium-ion high-voltage battery is channelled through the front wheels via a two-stage automatic transmission.
The combinations mean that the BMW i8 is able to produce 362 hp maximum power and 570 Nm of torque. Performance is 0 to 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds with both engine and electric motor engaged. The BMW i8 manages economy figures of 2.5 litres per 100 km or 113 mpg in imperial measurements.