Sure, Formula E teams want to win and make money. That’s a given. The big automobile manufacturers who fund the open-wheel electric cars that whir around tracks all over the world also have a bigger goal in mind: research and development.
Brand named automakers — from BMW to Audi to Jaguar — compete to create the best technology for their race cars, which look like the more popular, gas-guzzling Formula 1 racers but are powered by rechargeable batteries. The high-performance engineering is then used as a case study for the development of consumer car lines.
It’s a constant intellectual race to find the cheapest and highest-performing material for racing. Formula E regulations ensure it. Each car must be physically the same. The only difference between the cars is their electric battery. Developing the most efficient energy source is how teams win. That innovation is in turn used to develop cheaper consumer cars.