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Video: BMW evaluates electric E-Scooter

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July 11, 2011

The BMW E-Scooter electric concept motorcycle

The BMW E-Scooter electric concept motorcycle

Image Gallery (9 images)

BMW has flagged a possible intention to get into the electric motorcycle market with the airing of its E-Scooter concept bike. Designed from the ground up as an electric bike, the E-scooter uses its battery casing as a primary component of the frame. With a regenerative braking system built in and a full charge from a conventional power socket taking less than three hours, the E-Scooter is capable of over 100 km (62 miles) per charge, and easily makes freeway speeds.

Don't be put off buy the odd paint job on this concept bike - that's the standard camouflage BMW and many other manufacturers use to conceal the final body shape of concept and pre-production test vehicles.

Under the skin, the E-Scooter looks to be a reasonably well designed but unremarkable electric maxi-scooter reminiscent of the Vectrix that more or less pioneered decent-sized electric motorcycles in the western world. It's worth noting that in certain parts of Asia, electrics are almost as common as petrol scooters, but they travel at lower speeds and have shorter ranges than would be appealing to the U.S. market.

The BMW E-Scooter electric concept motorcycle

So what's changed since the Vectrix? Not an awful lot, on the surface of it. Vectrix chose a hub-mounted drive motor, BMW uses a chain drive and a motor that's built into the battery pack. Presumably BMW will be using Lithium based batteries as opposed to the Vectrix's old-school NiMH powerpack.

Range and top speed more or less match the Vectrix - the BMW will do more than 100 km/h (62 mph) and will travel more than 100 km (62 miles) on a charge if you go gentle on the throttle. But our recent experience testing the Zero Electric Supermoto taught us exactly how much of a difference your riding style can make to a modern electric's range figures. Pootle it around at 50 km/h (can you actually pootle an electric?) and it feels like the battery will last forever. Sit at 100 km/h on a freeway and it's quite terrifying to watch as the battery bars disappear before your very eyes.

Regenerative braking will help keep a little more juice in the battery as you ride, but in general, as with most electrics, you plug the E-Scooter into the wall to charge it. A full charge from empty is over in about three hours, but you'll rarely run it all the way to empty.

The BMW E-Scooter electric concept motorcycle

BMW has chosen a combination of liquid and air cooling to keep the motor, battery and electrics from overheating, and there's more or less no frame to speak of. The battery box supports the seat, headstock and swingarm as part of its design.

The E-Scooter project looks like it's been more or less put together to get a hold of some grant funding from the German government. Having achieved that goal, it'll be interesting to see if BMW believes strongly enough in the segment and the vehicle itself to put it out onto the market in its current form.

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade.   All articles by Loz Blain
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7 Comments

The E-Scooter project looks like it's been more or less put together to get a hold of some grant funding from the German government. mwahahahah

Facebook User
12th July, 2011 @ 12:13 am PDT

The more the merrier. I think it's awesomeness!

kinbo1966
12th July, 2011 @ 06:35 am PDT

The comment about this concept bike being the only one to achieve a 100 km range and highway speeds is, to put it kindly, ignorant, if not an outright lie. The ZEV 7100 scooter, already available to buy, rather than a concept, already achieves both those marks and more.

Pat Kelley
12th July, 2011 @ 07:05 am PDT

The economy of individual urban transport increases exponentially with , not only for the mode but infrastructure efficiency. Bravo Bavarians!

When you pull your head out of your ethnocentric exhaust and enlighten to the future of intelligent transportation economy, integral batteries will be ejected for drive through autonomous coop battery exchange. Then every EV has unlimited range, maximizing the economy of scale and efficiency. Or are you so enveloped by the ritual of stopping to plug in every 30 miles for three hours for twinkies and cigarettes you don't really care about the future of safe, maximized economy of clean transportation?

tbodell
13th July, 2011 @ 02:08 am PDT

BMW is a great company and their products are well researched/designed. The thing is that we seem stuck in a box with regard to both battery technology and efficiency enhancers. Clearly some non-engineering-degree-garage-inventor is going to have to come up with the next real departure from existing technology/methodology.

I suggest this will be done using a mix of (not-so) common sense and innovation i.e., "I didn't know it couldn't be done."

Muraculous
13th July, 2011 @ 11:44 am PDT

I'm looking to buy an electric bike when the tech matures a bit but you think they could have picked an uglier paint scheme?

phydeaux
13th July, 2011 @ 09:54 pm PDT

looks like the driving shower cabin for BMW they build in the past - without the cabin. 100 Kilometers Range is not much. For this range you should better change to a 45 KM/h Pedelec EBike that can take you the same range

Jens Schwoon
31st July, 2012 @ 02:09 am PDT
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