BMW Motorrad has recently unveiled the BMW e-scooter, its zero-emissions “development study” for improving two-wheeled urban transportation, for real reals.
The photograph, above, shows a camouflaged prototype that purportedly improves upon the existing e-scooter range. Its other reason for being is to develop a purely electrically-powered alternative with dynamic figures comparable to maxi-scooters, which typically feature combustion-engines ranging in size from 250 cc to around 800 cc. Intended as a future-oriented solution, some funding for the development came from the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building, and Urban Development. Did they let the Ministry down?
Let’s see. Motorrad BMW claims that the concept vehicle provides the “necessary sustained output and maximum speed for safe and reliable overtaking on urban motorways when carrying two people”, and gives an acceleration figure of within 0-60 km/h, or about 0-37 mph- albeit without mention of time elapsed. It could be wicked fast, or it could be a little sluggish compared to a maxi-scooter, though BMW compares acceleration to that of a 600 cc maxi-scooter model. Putting that aside, I hope that the top speed is a bit more than just 37 mph…about the only thing you can pass at that speed are bicycles and pedestrians.
What about compared to other e-scooters? The BMW’s daily driving range is over 100 km, or about 62 miles, right around the range of many e-scooters already on the market, such as the Vectrix VX-1, which offers 68 miles at 25 mph (aside- consumers report it’s more like 25-40 miles in real driving conditions, and I suspect the same will be the case for the BMW).
Agility and top speed are important when riding a scooter in the wild highways; I’m not sure I’d be all that comfortable with 40 mph. The Vectrix VX-1 is reported to have a topspeed close to the Kymco People 150, which is reported to have a top speed ranging from 57 to 65 (Kymco itself doesn’t publish a top speed.) Current Motor Company’s deluxe scooter offers a 50 mile range at “normal” city riding, and an 80 mile range when the rider keeps at a smooth 30 mph.
Like other electric scooters, you can charge the BMW Motorrad’s e-scooter with regular household power sockets; at most, a flat battery requires les than 3 hours charging time in Germany. The scooter does not have a main frame; its lighter aluminum battery casing is both frame and also contains the electronic system required for monitoring the battery cell. The steering head support is connected to it, as is the rear frame and single swingarm. The BMW e-scooter doesn’t have a hub motor or a planetary gearbox; it features a secondary drive that consists of a toothed belt. Another nifty feature is the regenerative braking, which Motorrad says increases the vehicle’s range from 10 to 20 percent, depending on your style of driving. Head to the next page for some even more technical details.
We don’t know how much it weighs or how much it will cost since, you know, it’s a concept (if one of our readers has more info., please pipe up!). We also don’t know over what range it can sustain the high speeds necessary for overtaking and having FUN- which, let’s face it, is at least 50% the reason people buy two-wheeled vehicles in the first place.
In short, we don’t have enough information to judge the practicality and worthiness of the concept, but it’s nice to have more “green” research from an established company. The BMW fanbase can be counted on to purchase anything BMW, why not electric scooters? Combined with BMW’s new i electric sub-brand, the German automaker seems to be putting a lot of stock into electric propulsion. But will it pay off?
Via BMW Motorad