The low-emission Formula E championship gets a new official safety car: the BMW i8.
Formula E and BMW partnered together to bring the wireless charging technology to i8. Throughout the Formula E season, it will be driven by Bruno Correia.
Wireless charging involves fitting a special inductive receiver on the underside of the vehicle and an inductive charging pad on the ground. When parked over the top of the charging pad, resonant magnetic induction is used to transfer energy from the charging pad to the receiver pad on the underside of the car, enabling the battery pack to be charged without connecting any wires to the vehicle.
The technology could be ready for mass-market vehicles by 2017.
The BMW i8 will be placed at the end of the pit lane during races, wirelessly charging and ready to spring into action when required during each practice, qualifying session and race.
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BMW’s plug-in hybrid course car was revealed in a ceremony at the Donington Park circuit in the U.K., ex-Grand Prix venue and home of Formula E. The i8 should be more than up to the task of leading racers around the circuit, its 1.5-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine and two-motor electric drive system producing a combined 357 horsepower. The 0-60 mph time is estimated at just over four seconds, while an EPA-rated 15-mile electric range means it won’t need to sit with the engine idling before it’s called out onto the track. Top speed on electric power alone is 75 mph.