BMW is working on an electronic supercharger system for its S1000 RR superbike, according to recently-unearthed patents.
BikeSocial, a UK mag, is reporting BMW has filed a patent application in Germany for an electronically-driven supercharger system that is depicted as fitted to the S1000 RR. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be fitted to other bikes in the future, of course.
In the photo below, if you’re good at reading technical drawings, you can get a rough idea of how the system works.
Currently, most superchargers are driven by the vehicle’s engine, matching the supercharger speed to engine rpm. An electronically-driven supercharger could theoretically have some advantages (ease of installation and maintenance, lower cost, no turbo lag), but they haven’t been widespread since their introduction in other areas of the automotive industry. They are less efficient than mechanically-driven superchargers, and require a lot of electronic output to power them. There are ways around these problems, though, especially if you incorporate them into some sort of regenerative braking setup, as is common on EVs.
The patent is no guarantee of production, but BMW has definitely shown a desire to move its machinery forward, technologically speaking, in recent years, with projects like the Shiftcam engines in its R1250 series, as well as the 2020 S1000 RR. The carbon-fibre frame HP4 Race superbike is another example of BMW’s technological achievements in the past couple of years, and there’s lots of other stuff in the works, like the Vision DC Roadster or the riderless R1200 GS, or its new battery development centre. Despite a reputation for conservatism, BMW is actually doing a lot to move two-wheelers into the future.