HYBRID SPORTS CAR FOR SA: The BMW i8, set to arrive in South Africa later in 2014, will be the Formula E series safety car. Image: BMW
MUNICH, Germany - BMW's i8 hybrid sports car has been chosen as the safety/pace car for the first Formula E race which will kick off the series in Beijing on September 13 2014.
The petrol-electric sports car has Qualcom Halo wireless induction technology which allows the BMW's batteries to be charged without a cable connection.
BMW said: "The system uses resonant magnetic induction to transfer electricity between a ground-based pad and a charger fitted to the underside of the vehicle. To fast-charge the batteries the car simply parks over the pad."
FORMULA E SERIES
Formula E is the world's first global, fully-battery, race series and will be held on city tracks around the world - but not South Africa.
The series will begin in the Chinese capital on a course laid around its iconic Olympic Stadium, used for the opening and closing venue of the 2008 Olympic Games.
HEADED FOR SA
South Africa can expect the hybrid sports car to arrive later in 2014. The i8, along with its hybrid i3 sibling, is part of the automaker's 'i' sub-brand.
The i8 seats four and is 4.6m long, 1.9m wide and 1.2m tall with a wheelbase of 2.8m. It weighs 1490kg and has a 117mm ground clearance, making it lower than any other current BMW.
It’s powered by a 170kW/320Nm rear-mounted 1.5-litre three-cylinder TwinPower petrol, sending power to the rear wheels through a six-speed auto. A 96kW/250Nm electric drive system sends power to the front wheels via a two-stage auto.
Total output is 266kW/570Nm enough to rocket it from 0-100km/h in 4.4sec and on to a top speed of 250km/h (electronically limited). BMW claims a fuel consumption of 2.5 litres/100km with emissions of 49g/km.
It can travel 35km solely on battery power.