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.”