2014 BMW C evolution: First Photos and Specs

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The 2014 BMW C evolution may not look like or perform like a Mission RS or Brammo Empulse, but it’ll achieve something those bikes from boutique brands cannot: volume sales. This maxi scooter is the first production electric two-wheeler from a major manufacturer.

We first got wind that BMW was developing an electric scooter way back in 2010, with the Concept C. That model teased the C evolution’s electric motivation and the styling of the now-released BMW C 600 Sport and C 650 GT. Then, last year, we saw the C evolution in “near production prototype” form. Now, just released at the Frankfurt Motor Show, is the C evolution that will go on-sale some time next year.

2014 BMW C evolution
2014 BMW C evolution

The C evolution isn’t just a C 600 Sport with batteries stuck in where the engine should be. Despite the styling similarities, it’s a ground-up electric vehicle. The steel battery cases serve as the chassis, running under the floorboard and connecting the conventional forks to the rear swingarm and its left-side monoshock. Nor does BMW cheap out with a motor mounted in the wheel hub (an arrangement that drastically increases unsprung weight), instead mounting the electric motor on the swingarm, in conventional scooter form, then driving the rear wheel via a belt.

That electric motor develops a continuous 15bhp, good for a 75mph top speed, but can peak at up to 47bhp. Combined with 53lb-ft of torque — more than a 600cc supersport bike develops — acceleration is very strong. 0-62mph takes 6.2 seconds.

The 8kWh battery capacity is said to be good for “over 62 miles” of range in realistic city driving conditions while a typical European 220v/12a outlet can charge the battery from flat to full in four hours.

2014 BMW C evolution
2014 BMW C evolution

As you’d expect from a futuretastic BMW, the technology doesn’t stop there. To maximize range, they’re strongly pushing regenerative braking, packaging verious levels of regen into four different, user selectable riding modes:

Road mode: full accelerating power is available here, while energy is recuperated at a rate of approx. 50% when coasting with the throttle closed. Recuperation takes place during braking as well. The standard operating range is achieved in this mode.

Eco Pro mode: the drag torque when coasting is increased significantly in this mode and a maximum recuperation rate together with the restricted accelerating power and the resulting limit on energy output enables the range to be extended by 10-20%. The higher drag torque manifests itself for the rider as a sharper decelerating torque when the throttle is released. The highest range is achieved in this ride mode.

Sail mode: in this mode, the electric motor does not build up drag torque and recuperation only takes place when braking. As a result, riders will notice that next to no braking torque is generated when the throttle is released, allowing the vehicle to glide along virtually free of any braking effect – a riding experience that is unheard of on conventionally powered two-wheelers.

Dynamic mode: for extra-dynamic performance, this mode combines full accelerating power with a sharp rate of recuperation and therefore a high level of drag torque.

There’s also a form of traction control that BMW is calling “Torque Control Assist.” It monitors wheels speeds, stepping in to cut torque if the rear spins up faster than the front and also if the regenerative braking causes enough drag to reduce rear wheel traction. As with all other bikes in the BMW lineup, ABS is standard.

2014 BMW C evolution
2014 BMW C evolution

A large, full-color TFT display does the usual instrumentation stuff, also displaying, “power output in kW, average consumption in kWh/100 km, total power consumption, battery charge status, average speed, voltage of the onboard electrical system and the high-voltage system, and the remaining range in kilometres taking into account the selected ride mode.”

All external lighting is handled by LEDs; an excellent choice for an electric vehicle due to their low power draw and great for city riding thanks to their extreme brightness.

2014 BMW C evolution
2014 BMW C evolution

In another dose of Teutonic practicality, heated grips are standard.

Price and availability are TBA, stay tuned to RideApart for updates.

  • Toly

    “Sail mode: in this mode, the electric motor does not build up drag torque and recuperation only takes place when braking. As a result, riders will notice that next to no braking torque is generated when the throttle is released, allowing the vehicle to glide along virtually free of any braking effect – a riding experience that is unheard of on conventionally powered two-wheelers.”

    I guess whoever wrote this piece of spam never tried pullin’ in der clutch, when releasin’ zer throttle, on a conventional two-wheeler.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      SAIL.

    • appliance5000

      They should call it the “bad technique” mode – but people do what people do.

      • grindz145

        Alternatively, throw-away free energy mode.

  • Justin McClintock

    Trying to care. Failing miserably. Call me when the batteries are swappable at the nearest gas station. Then I’ll care.

    • 480272

      When the Mission R becomes mainstream we won’t be making comments like this. Electric bikes are very interesting not only from the tech point but also a whole new way to look at weight distribution.

      • Justin McClintock

        “When”? I think what you meant to say was, “If”. Lots of bikes have come and gone that were supposed to be revolutionary and in the end weren’t even relevant. Electric bikes (and cars) will eventually be relevant, no doubt. But that doesn’t mean Mission necessarily will be.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          Mission is relevant right now. Nothing else is faster, it’s that simple.

          • Justin McClintock

            Do a survey. See how many people have seen one out on the road. I’ll bet it’s bordering on 0. For the public, it’s about as relevant as a Desmosedici. In other words, it’s not, at least not right now.

            • Doug S

              I’m not going to claim Mission is the final solution, nor Zero (my bike), nor Brammo. EV acceptance is a long-term thing, but it’s coming. Count on it.

              And if you want to throw the term “relevant” around, how’s this: The fastest motorcycle up Pike’s Peak in 2013, not the fastest electric bike but the fastest, period, was a Lightning. It failed to break the all-time record by just a few seconds; they had some weather up top that slowed the rider down a bit. I was bitterly disappointed that no Lightnings were entered this year, and the unlimited motorcycle division was won by a Ducati….with a time significantly slower than last year’s Lightning put up.

              • Justin McClintock

                Wait a second. I talk about public road use due to concerns about range and you throw out an example of a bike that can’t even return to the same venue for a second year at a race where range is a total non-concern. I don’t think you understand the term “relevant” or its use here.

                And for the record, the second place Lightning beat a 450cc motard to the top by a couple of seconds. Kinda takes the shine off that apple. And the weather sucked this year. So then there’s that. How about look at something more truly relevant to what might be applicable in the real world, like the TT or something.

  • appliance5000

    That’s a nicely done machine – very well proportioned and finished. If the price is reasonable it could do very well. I don’t have a garage but I could ride into my freight elevator and bring it into the studio – hmmm.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      Park it next to the desk. That’s a feature.

      • appliance5000

        Without flammable fluids the paradigm changes. I’ll just run an extension cord and leave it next to the couch.

        • Chris Winkler

          I guess batteries never short out and start fires eh? *cough* Fisker *cough*

          • appliance5000

            You have dozens of batteries in your home and a pretty big one in your pocket (cell)- but I’ll take your advice and leave the Karma outside. Now turn your head to the left and….

          • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

            The various Fisker fires – a couple that I’ve read about that have burned while driving, and 16 during Hurricane Sandy (1 initial, winds spread the fire to the other 15) – were reportedly due to the low-voltage battery system, not the high-voltage lithium pack. There was an additional house fire with a Fisker involved .. I can’t find anything about a final cause there.

            http://www.edmunds.com/car-news/fisker-reveals-cause-of-karma-fires-during-hurricane-sandy.html

            A bad battery design can certainly lead to a fire in bad conditions. You know all those reports of customer-owned Volts, LEAFs, and Tesla vehicles catching fire? That sold in far greater quantities than the Karma?

            ..

            well, maybe Fisker is just bad at designing electrical systems.

  • lennard schuurmans

    the wheels are to small and it looks heavy. Some small changes in the design would have a big impact. missed opportunity

  • PeteN95

    How much does it weigh? How much does it cost? Compared to one of the C600s?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      584lbs.

      As mentioned in the article, no price has been announced yet.

  • ticticticboom

    I’m guessing $15k

  • vince

    that scooter as inverted forks… and not the f800r … oh wow!

  • Justin McClintock

    No. That scenario doesn’t specifically spell out the solution. I have. And I’m quite certain what I’m suggesting will in fact come to fruition at some point. But that point hasn’t arrived….yet.

    • grindz145

      Why would you swap a battery when you can charge it in 10 minutes? That’s the direction things are heading, swapping will only be a niche thing at best.

      • Justin McClintock

        No they’re not. Physics gets in the way. Remember, you’re still converting molecules of one material to that of another material. That doesn’t happen in an instant. People always seem to ignore that side of things. And the faster you attempt to charge a battery, the less efficient the charging process will be. Go down that road too far and you’ll have electric vehicles that are both less efficient than gas ones, and still take longer to “refuel”.

        • grindz145

          6C charging means charged in 10 minutes. There are some cells capable of 20C charging. Welcome to the future my friend. Physics is not in the way, bingbong.

          • Justin McClintock

            Where was 6C charging mentioned? This thing charges in 4 hours, not 6 minutes. Show me some mass produced cells with any kind of capacity that will charge in 6 minutes. We’re not there yet…because physics is in the way, bingbong.

            • grindz145

              4 hours is an infrastructure/charger limit. Building a larger charge station is much easier than a battery-swap station. ChaDeMo can charge this thing in 20 minutes. I like your “physics” reference though. It’s cute.

              • Justin McClintock

                Infrastructure limit? You apparently know nothing of infrastructure then. Tesla’s quick charging stations are running 480V and a helluva lot more than 12A. Infrastructure! Ha! What a joke!

                And let’s see some numbers from this ChaDeMo. A link would be nice.

                • grindz145

                  Good point Justin, There is a Tesla supercharger at every corner store and gas station in the world. They are also 100% compatible with the J1772 charging standard common to most electric vehicles. I’m glad to learn that all of the infrastructure limits have been lifted.

                • Justin McClintock

                  So where’s that link? I must say, I’m quite curious about this ability to charge a battery like this in 20 minutes like you claim (which mind you, is still roughly 10 times longer than it takes to fill up a gas scooter).

                • Doug S

                  Justin, quit trying to pretend you know anything about what you’re talking about. Yes, there ARE batteries that are capable of charging very, very fast. Look up AGM batteries and LiFePO4, both of which are VERY rugged and can charge VERY fast. It’s true that the maximum charging speed of current EV technology is somewhere closer to a 2C rate, but the technology is moving forward. Physics doesn’t set any upper limit to how fast you can charge a battery.

                • Doug S

                  Oh, and if you’re not capable of Googling “CHAdeMO” yourself, you’re not only a blowhard, you’re illiterate.

                • Justin McClintock

                  Per the Wiki article….

                  “CHAdeMO can charge low-range electric cars in less than half an hour.” Sweet! Half an hour at a “gas” station! Sounds like a blast!

                • Justin McClintock

                  Yes and no. The efficiencies of any system aren’t 100%. Heat is an issue. It’s already an issue with current battery charging technology. Push the envelope further, and you’re going to have more heat to deal with and chances are you’ll be losing efficiency in the process as well. So you run into the law of diminishing returns.

                • Doug Shepherd

                  EVERY technology “runs into the law of diminishing returns”. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still gains to be made. You really should spend some quality time on Wikipedia.

                  Tesla water-cools their battery pack, partly to maintain performance in very cold or very warm environments, but also to keep them from heating up excessively when they’re charging. And I thought you only cared about charging speed, not efficiency? You want to talk about inefficiency, let’s talk about ICEs!

                  I have a degree in Physics, and have been an EE for thirty years now. As such, it’s even more apparent to me than it is to most people that you haven’t got the foggiest clue what you’re talking about — you’re so convinced you already know everything that you’ll never learn anything.

                • Justin McClintock

                  Oh goodie, now we get to through credentials out there! I’m a mechanical engineer. Boring stuff. Just do things like design airplanes.

                  Anyway, yes, ICEs are incredibly inefficient. You’re not breaking new ground with that statement. But we’re not talking about their USE. We’re talking about refueling vs. recharging. And my point is, you’re not getting down to gasoline powered vehicle refueling times for charging an EV with any kind of range anytime soon. Even Tesla realizes this. Hence their push to create a swappable battery pack on the Roadster. WHICH IS EXACTLY what I’ve been advocating ALL ALONG. I don’t hate electrics by any stretch of the imagination. I hate the idea of waiting for them to recharge. And the simple point is that I’m not going to be able to drive from Atlanta to Charlotte and back stopping wherever I please to recharge a battery pack in ten minutes or less anytime soon. Probably not in the next 30 years for that matter. But like I’ve previously pointed out, if the auto industry can standardize some type of swappable battery system (and hopefully it’s something the motorcycle industry can work with), swappable batteries are a much more quickly realizable solution. It’d be like trading in your propane tank for a full one. I can do that at freakin’ WALMART!

                  Sure, it might require full service “fuel” stations. And no, most cars wouldn’t use a single pack…there’d be several. More for larger and/or more powerful cars. But it’d be pretty straightforward to implement if there was just some industry standardization. That’s the big hurdle.

                • Doug S

                  You’re an ME, huh? I’m so sorry, I wish life had worked out better for you. Seriously, you’re going to argue about battery technology with someone who actually designs with them every single day, and whose education is actually ON POINT for this discussion?

                  I don’t know why you and your ilk get so freakin’ hung up on range. My transportation requirements are unusually high: I commute 50 miles per day, which is very much on the high end, and it’s mostly so cal freeway mileage. When I get home, my bike is at 30-35% SoC, I plug it in, and it’s ready to do it again the next day. Like the great majority of people, commuting accounts for most of my mileage. Errands and visiting friends accounts for most of what’s left; the bike is more than capable of those things too. I’m the first one to admit that long trips are difficult on the bike, although if I wanted to invest in the CHAdeMO charger, the story would be different.

                  But that’s one reason I still have an ICE-powered car! It’s not necessary for ONE VEHICLE to fill ALL of your transportation needs! When you move, you rent a moving truck, right? When you need to bring sheetrock home from the home store, you rent or borrow a vehicle, right? So an EV can’t do long trips quite as conveniently as an ICE-powered vehicle. Mine handles 95+% of my transportation needs effortlessly, at far reduced cost from driving my car, and I have my car for almost all the rest of my needs.

                  How is that so hard to understand?

                • Justin McClintock

                  Your education is on point with developing battery technology? I thought you said you were a EE, not a CHEM E. You may be able to pull one over on the general public, but you’re arguing with another engineer here, one who’s actually done an internship with a battery company while in college. I’m not gonna claim that makes me some kind of battery expert, just enough to know that some EE who claims to have all the answers probably doesn’t.

                  As far as getting hung up on range….seriously? So I’m supposed to change the way I live just to adopt an electric vehicle? I ride more than just for commuting purposes. I live just outside Atlanta. Deal’s Gap is 160 miles from here. It’s a day trip for me to ride up there, ride around for a while, and ride back on my SV1K. About a 500 mile day in all. On an electric? Forget it. Same with the north GA mountains. Even if I trailer my DRZSM up there, I’ll still put far more miles than even two charges would accomplish on any electric. I could effectively replace my DT175 with an electric, but replacing a $500 bike that gets 50 mpg with a $10K+ electric bike wouldn’t make much economic sense, now would it?

                  As for the idea of making the batteries swappable, it simplifies the charging process. It doesn’t matter how fast the battery charges if you can remove it from the vehicle for a fully charged one. No need for extra development of faster charging. No need for some fancy cooling system dedicated specifically to cooling the battery during charging. And with all that, you can make the entire vehicle lighter, which will in turn help range!

                  And you speak of a CHAdeMO charger as if it’s something you’re going to bolt onto your bike. Your not. It’s infrastructure. So if you buy one, it’s going to be chilling at your home, meaning it won’t help longer trips at all. That, and they’re apparently on their way out already anyway. http://www.plugincars.com/why-chademo-death-row-europe-128001.html So then there’s that.

                  Again, like said before, the future of the electric vehicle is a standardized, swappable battery. It solves innumerable technical issues and extended practical range. It just makes sense. Even Tesla is moving in that direction. For good reason.