I have just returned from Italy, where getting around on scooters is practically a national religion. They range from tiny (and tinny) 50 cc models suitable only for use in crowded urban environments on up to 650 cc offerings that can take on major highways. In general, scooters offer a lower riding position than traditional motorcycles, making them easier to get on an off.
Despite the fact that they are agile, efficient, and easy to park, they still add carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere — especially the smallest ones, which are often powered by 2 stroke engines. BMW has a better idea. For several years, it has offered an electric scooter in the European market that looks like one of its larger machines but is powered by a battery and electric motor.
As usual with BMW, the engineering for its electric scooter is superb. The battery case is part of the chassis of the machine, which keeps its weight low for better handling. It also helps protect it from damage in the event of a crash. The liquid cooled electric motor transmits its power to the rear wheel via a rubber toothed belt because the powertrain is so quiet, the noise of a traditional chain was an unwanted distraction. There is a CVT transmission as well.
The battery for the electric scooter uses the same cells found in the BMW i3 electric car. BMW has just started offering an upgraded battery with longer range for the i3 and has used the new, more energy dense cells in the upgraded C Evolution. The change boosts power from 15 horsepower to 26 horsepower. Range is now around 100 miles — up from 60 miles for the original.
BMW is saving the best news for last. The formerly Europe only C Evolution will soon be available in the US, as well as other world markets such as Russia, Japan, and South Korea. The C Evolution features regenerative braking, abs, a tinted windscreen, and color coordinated stitching for the seat. No prices for the US market have been announced as of yet.
Source: CleanTechnica Photo credit: BMW