BMW’s electric scooter is nearly here.

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This is the BMW C evolution, a “near-production prototype” for an upcoming electric scooter. Why should you care about yet another concept electric bike? Well, when a company with BMW’s engineering expertise, production numbers and budget decides to do this, they do it for real. Like the Mission R race bike, the C evolution uses a stressed battery box for the chassis, but uniquely houses both the electric motor and belt drive inside the swingarm, with that motor rotating concentrically with the swingarm pivot, reducing its effects on handling.

The rest of the scooter is relatively conventional in an electric vehicle sense, if thoroughly executed. Top speed is 75mph, there’s 8kWh of battery on board, which is good for a conservatively-stated 60-mile range and BMW’s fitted all sorts of clever touches like lightweight tires for reduced rotational inertia and unsprung weight, as well as all the safety features you’d expect from a BMW — ABS brakes and all manner of battery insulation and high-spec electrical components pinched from the car division.


So what of production dates, pricing and just making this concept a reality? BMW is operating a fleet of 5 test vehicles in Europe. “BMW Motorrad is also making use of a number of events in Europe to further raise the profile and promote acceptance of single-track electrically powered vehicles, thereby preparing the market for such a vehicle with a view to launching a serial production model,” states the company.

“In this pilot phase, the vehicles are being operated in real conditions of use and within areas which reflect their intended environment,” BMW is making sure the product it brings to market will fulfill the needs and wants of consumers in the real world.

Perhaps most innovative isn’t the technology, but the business model BMW is building around its new product. As new generations of urban professionals move away from vehicle ownership and towards vehicle sharing, this could be the killer app that makes products like these viable and relevant to mainstream consumers. “The aim here is also to explore the infrastructure, such as establishing a network of e-mobility providers which might include vehicle rental companies and car-sharing firms.”

  • muckluck

    The rainbow in the background is perfect…just saying.

  • Troy R

    It’s good to see fairly honest numbers. 60 miles at 133wh/mile is not that much of a stretch these days (with an 11kW motor). Stressing vehicle sharing probably means you can’t afford to own it :)

    PS. I really want one. In anything but white and “treehug” green.

    • protomech

      I’ve averaged 126 Wh/mile at the wall over 4500 miles on a 2012 Zero S, typical speeds 40-55 mph.

      133 Wh/mile at the pack sounds pretty reasonable. The BMW will certainly be heavier, but probably will be a little cleaner cutting through the air. City range reduced, highway range increased.

      Popular Mechanics initially claimed a $9-10k price for the scooter, which is shockingly low. They have since retracted this claim – I would expect it to be priced in the $16-20k range.

      • Troy R

        The ‘standard’ when the Brammo and first Zero bikes came out what quoting about 80-100wh/mile to get their range claims. That’s kind of BS if you have a bike that can do 70 that’s all.

        16-20k for a scooter is rough. I’m a hardcore electric drive guy, but even 15k for this is a bit hard to stomach. Granted, I trust BMW to do it right.

        • Troy R

          P.S. When I start doing the math on operating cost. The $16k up front starts to sound a little better. By my rough estimate, it’s about $1k cheaper to run per 10k than my Vespa GT200, and about 1.5k cheaper to run per 10k mi than my ST1300. You’d still have to rack up some miles on it.

  • Jon B.

    wishing it was smaller.

    • stempere

      You don’t want it to look like a snake (the scooter) that swallowed an apple (the batteries).

      The only downside of electric scooters is that compared to gas powered ones, you lose the underseat storage, on motorycle you didn’t have it in the first place.
      On that subject, have you guys seen the “flex case” system on the new BMW C650? It’s pretty clever.

      • AHA

        Just imagine when the batteries and the stressed compartment are 40% smaller! Shouldn’t take too many years. There’ll be storage space & a sleeker look.

  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    But does it have an integrated flower vase?

  • Mark D [EX500]

    Seems like a scooter’s natural habitat is much more conducive to electric power than a sports bike. I like the styling, too, though that seating position looks a little feet-forward even for a Maxi-scooter.

  • Gene

    What’s interesting is a TON of my non-bike friends have emailed me about this scooter. I tell ‘em about MotoCzysz, BRD, Mission Motors, Brammo, Zero, etc and they’re not interested, but they think this is the dog’s biscuits.

  • zipp4

    Is that Sean’s doppelganger on the top pic?