BMW Adds E-scooter to Model Line
MUNICH, Germany – After several months delay production and delivery of the BMW megascooters has started at last. To mark that festive occasion ánd BMW’s huge effort as official transport partner of the Olympic games the Motorrad department invited a select group of two dozens of journalists from all over the world to be the first ‘outsiders’ to ride the near production prototypes of their upcoming E-scooter. Where? In the Olympic town centre of London!
Just before the opening ceremony of the Olympic games in London the German motorcycle factory officially announced that they will be producing an electric megascooter as a two wheeled companion to the revolutionary i3 passenger car that the ‘pkw’ department has already unveiled.
Production in Berlin
The i3 will be on the streets in the second half of next year and the BMW C-evolution scooter – as it’s known now – will be in production in their Berlin motorcycle factory soon after that. Ready for the 2014 two wheeler season. That was simply the most practical way to proceed as it borrows much of the electrical technology of the car.
The presentation of the C-evolution marked one of the first appearances of Stephan Schaller as the new president of BMW Motorrad. He underlined the importance of the cooperation with the automotive development department. “Without them it would simply have been too costly to develop an electric scooter as refined and high-tech as the C-concept. Particularly the development and production of the battery pack and all technology surrounding it”, said Stephan Schaller.
Development chief Christian Ebner illustrates how far the cooperation goes: ”We are using exactly the same lithiumion battery modules that will be used in the i3 passenger car. And all our charging-, regulator- and converter electronics come from the same source. The major difference being that they will be using eight of the battery modules while we fit three in the aluminum housing. Which by the way is an integral and stressed part of the chassis.”
With its energy capacity of 8 kWh the lithiumion battery pack gives the C-evolution a 100 kilometres range. This may well increase in future due to improved battery technology, but Ebner admits BMW Motorrad is fully dependant on the automotive brothers for that. In future the heart of the current two cylinder BMW scooters will be used in a so called extended range version of the i3 car. Allowing it to drive on after the battery charge has been used up.
A good idea for BMW Motorrad too? Ebner: ”on two wheels there’s simply not enough space. And it would become way too complicated and heavy. So the answer is no, there will be no hybrid scooter on this basis.”
The biggest question: will a scooter like the C-evolution hit the mark with consumers all over the world? Being one of a few dozen journalists to ride the electric megascooter we can answer that with: yes, if the price is right. The design will definitely strike a chord with the urban users the C-evolution is aiming for. A range of a hundred kilometres plus is certainly enough for even the most serious commuter and we can testify that it definitely is a superscooter.
From zero to 70 kilometres per hour the rear wheel gets full torque. An amazingly strong 580 Nm. We were warned to use the throttle wisely in turns as an ASR system is still being developed for it. The torque makes it easily accelerate as fast as the 600 cc scooter – making just a whining electric motor sound in the process. It’s electronically limited to 120 kph. Steering feels a bit ‘nervous’ in sweeping turns as it was particularly developed for urban use and the weight feels a bit more forward than usually, but with its very low centre of gravity handling is very good.
All in all a very promising prelude, considering BMW Motorrad still had about a year to perfect its E-scooter.