16 September 2018 · Dennis Schmidt

From M to i: BMW's First Electric Livery

Last Friday BMW revealed their first fully-electric racing car to the public. The iFE.18 will compete in the fifth FIA Formula E season. We take a closer look at the branding and livery aspects of the new car.

When you think of BMW's factory entries in motorsport, there's a chance the three iconic cyan, blue and red stripes come to mind that have been in use since the early 70s. They're part of their so-called M brand – BMW's high performance and motorsport division – and can still be seen on some DTM and GT3 liveries today. The electric division of the German car maker however is called i and didn't have any presence in motorsport yet. The iFE.18 is BMW's first racing car that will run under the electric brand, meaning that also the iconic stripes are gone.

The i brand can still be instantly recognized as BMW though. Primary colours remain white and blue while red and a lighter blue are still present in accents. What's also left of BMW's motorsport programme is the black shape on the nose which is also applied on all their current DTM liveries.

The BMW iFE.18's primary element is the asymmetric shape across the whole car.

The most striking aspect of BMW's first Formula E livery is the asymmetric design, the shapes being mostly derived from the ‘propeller’ in BMW's logo. The blue parts are quite bright in the front and get darker towards the rear of the car. They also contain a pattern of red and light blue thin lines that are likely supposed to reflect technology and speed and might actually make a better impression when the car is in motion rather than in the studio.

The left side is predominantly blue…

The center of the ‘propeller’ however is not in the middle of the car but more towards the rear, making the sidepods on both sides white and thus leaving the advertising space to main sponsor Magma. This is actually the only car part that has the same colour on both sides, leading to the assumption that Magna might have insisted on placing their logo on the white parts. In the top view however, it can be seen that the logo is also placed in negative on one of the rear wings. Either way, it leads to the right side of the car looking rather bland compared to the left and top views.

…the right side rather white.
The asymmetric pattern has also been translated to the driver suits.

All in all, BMW's first i livery is certainly a looker and highly recognizable, laying the foundation for a very strong brand that could become truly iconic in the years to come should the team stick to the asymmetric pattern. Formula E liveries are generally known to be more brave and innovative then other series and the BMW is definitely no exception. We can't wait to see the car in motion at the test in Valencia in October.

All photo credits go to BMW Motorsport.

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About the author

Dennis Schmidt is a graphic and UI/UX designer as well as motor racing enthusiast from Hamburg, Germany.