BMW partners with a Formula E racing team

The automaker could learn more about high-performance electric cars.

Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke

BMW has already dabbled in Formula E between an i3 medical car and an i8 safety car, but it's ready to commit to the electric racing league in a much bigger way. The German brand has unveiled plans to "cooperate closely" with the Andretti Formula E team over two seasons. It's primarily promising engineering and resource sharing, but BMW has greater ambitions: it's studying the methodology of the league to consider the possibility of "works involvement" (that is, direct operation of a team) in the 2018-2019 season.

Naturally, this isn't just about getting the BMW roundel in front of more eyeballs. The company hopes that its racing and standard production groups will learn a thing or two from each other, shaping its long-term plans. It's not hard to see what could happen from there -- BMW could learn more about developing high-performance EVs and expand its eco-friendly lineup beyond a couple of niche models. Think of this team-up as a hint at the automaker's long-term future.