BMW Joins Audi in Quitting Battery-Powered Formula E Racing
(Bloomberg) -- BMW AG will quit Formula E motor racing at the end of this season, the latest manufacturer to shift resources away from the series as the race to develop mass-market electric cars intensifies.
Money saved from ending BMW’s seven-year involvement in Formula E will be better spent developing its range of EVs for consumers, the luxury automaker said in a statement.
The single-seater racing series, now in its seventh season, is similar to Formula 1 but without the scream of turbocharged gasoline engines. Open-cockpit cars powered by quiet electric engines with energy recovery systems race on street circuits in Chile and Saudi Arabia.
BMW, which has won four races since the competition’s start in 2014, said it exhausted the opportunities to transfer Formula E’s pioneering racing technologies into passenger models. Rival Audi AG recently announced it’s quitting for the same reasons.
BMW has its battles away from the race track. The German manufacturer is leaving Formula E as it seeks to catch up with Tesla Inc. and Volkswagen AG in the race to develop pure EVs. Seven years after debuting its first battery-powered model, the i3 hatchback, the Munich-based firm instead focused on plug-in hybrids.
That’s set to change with the launch of the battery-powered iX SUV that BMW unwrapped in November. The car, which is expected to go on sale in the second half of next year for at least 75,000 euros ($90,000), will be the automaker’s first car built on a dedicated EV architecture since the i3.
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