BMW has become the first mainstream motorcycle manufacturer to bring an electric bike to market. Except it’s not really a bike, it’s a scooter.
The German company has unveiled the new C evolution scooter at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It fits nicely into the rest of their maxi-scooter lineup – styling is very similar to the C 600 Sport and the C 650 GT.
The important stats: The scooter is supposed to have a 100-kilometre range under normal city riding conditions, thanks to its air-cooled lithium-ion 8 kWh battery (the motor itself is liquid-cooled). It’s electronically limited to a 120 kph top speed, and can recharge from a standard 220 EU wall socket in about four hours.
The scooter has a standard power output of 15 hp; however, it can produce up to 47 hp. The motor puts out 53 ft-lb of torque, and 0-100 kph acceleration is 6.2 seconds; BMW claims that’s better than some competing gas-powered maxi-scooters. That motor, by the way, is mounted on the swingarm, like most scooters, with a belt final drive.
According to BMW’s press release, the scooter doesn’t have a frame, in the conventional sense; the diecast aluminum battery casing is a major component of the chassis, with a steel head bearing support attached at front, and a swingarm made from steel tubing at the rear of the casing.
Like all high-spec electric two-wheelers, the C evolution is filled with electronic aids that stretch your battery power. There’s automatic battery regeneration when using brakes or when closing the throttle and coasting.
To manage that energy regeneration and maximize battery life, there are four riding modes; In Road Mode, riders get maximum acceleration, with 50 per cent energy regeneration while coasting and full regeneration while braking. In Eco Pro mode, acceleration is restricted to maximize energy savings, while the maximum amount of energy is recouped through regeneration.
If you don’t want battery regeneration, Sail Mode suppresses energy recuperation while coasting; Dynamic Mode combines “full accelerating power with a high degree of recuperation.”
Other electronic features include ABS, and Torque Control Assist (basically, a form of traction control that compares your front and rear wheel speeds, limiting motor torque if the system determines the shiny side is about to head downwards).
The scooter’s battery meets ISO 26262 standard for functional safety and the ECE R100 standard for high-voltage safety, the first electric two-wheeler to do so.
We don’t have an MSRP or arrival date for the C evolution in Canada yet, but it’s supposed to hit showroom floors sometime in 2014.
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