Qualcomm Joins “Formula E” (as in Electric) Auto Racing Series

9/10/13Follow @bvbigelow

Auto racing enthusiasts often point out that many of the innovations in today’s standard production automobiles—including disc brakes, direct shift gearboxes, and dual overhead cams—were pioneered in race cars built by elite race teams.

So the idea behind the FIA Formula E Championship, a 10-city tour of motorsport races for electrically-powered “formula” cars (Le Mans-type race cars with the same chassis, tires, and power train) could prove to be a strong driver of new innovation as the electric vehicle industry takes to the road. The Paris-based Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) gave a green light to the idea last August when it licensed commercial rights to the new Formula E championship series to a consortium of international investors.

The cars now being built for the Formula E Championship series—which is on track to begin in late 2014—will be capable of accelerating from zero to 62 mph in less than three seconds, according to race sponsors.

Formula E race car (Credit: Qualcomm)

Formula E race car (Credit: Qualcomm)

Now Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), the San Diego wireless giant, says it has joined with Formula E Holdings, the official promoter formed by the investor consortium, to become an official technology partner of the race series. As a technology partner, Qualcomm says it plans to “demonstrate how current and future generations all over the world can benefit from wireless, sustainable technology on and off the track.”

The FIA Formula E Championship series could serve as a showcase for Qualcomm technology—particularly the HaloIPT wireless charging technology for electric vehicles that Qualcomm acquired in late 2011. Qualcomm has been demonstrating the wireless charging technology in London.

Alas! Qualcomm’s wireless charging technology, which uses resonant magnetic induction to transfer … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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