BMW CE 02 concept: Is this electric minibike the future?

Quick, describe BMW’s motorcycles! Usually, they’re aimed at a serious motorcyclist with a bit of extra coin to spend on the latest technology … or at least, that’s the way things used to be. BMW’s latest electric concept bike seems to be in all-new territory—it’s built for The Skateboard Generation.

Fat rims and modern splashy graphics. Photo: BMW

Officially, BMW says the new CE 02 is “a new interpretation of smart, urban single-track mobility … The electric vehicle concept, which is neither a classic motorcycle nor a scooter, is an exciting and highly emotional mobility offer.

“At first glance, there is little about the BMW Motorrad Concept CE 02 that is typically BMW Motorrad – it’s something completely new. We want to strive for something novel and be pioneers …

Of course, one should always take marketeering with a good dose of skepticism, because this vehicle is hardly as outside-the-box as the PR team claim. It’s simply a minibike with an electric motor instead of a gasoline engine, and BMW isn’t the first manufacturer in this territory, although it’s certainly a bold new direction for the German brand.

Definitely not the traditional BMW customer base. Photo: BMW

While minibikes have been around forever, and electric minibikes have even been around for a while as well, you’d expect BMW to bring its own flair to this project. Indeed, while the Super73 and other electric minibikes ape the glory days of the monkey bike, BMW’s CE 02 concept is covered in translucent plastic and other pieces that instead look forward to the world of cyberpunk. It’s the futuristic look that Apple pioneered in the early 2000s, and BMW itself even explored before with the Scarver, but it’s edgy instead of bright, hip and cheerful.

This is yet another e-moto that’s aimed at the urban user. BMW claims a top speed around 90 km/h, and a range of 90 km inside city limits. It’s supposed to weigh around 120 kg. There’s a sleek colour display in front of the handlebars, and LED lighting all-round. BMW also says the black/silver paint scheme pays homage to the company’s history. It also says “Additional individualisation by means of stickers or tapes is also possible and indeed desirable,” so take that all with a grain of salt.

The CE 02 actually comes ready to transport your skateboard. Photo: BMW

As it did with the Concept CE 04 last year, BMW’s press release also talks about riding gear that’s matched to the bike. See the whole blurb below:

The innovative concept rider equipment perfectly matches the BMW Motorrad Concept CE 02. Two jackets inspired by contemporary trends indicate a whole range of new possibilities for both functional and fashionable clothing with innovative materials and processing techniques. The two variants both echo the typographic style of the vehicle graphics. Casually styled, the jackets also underscore a youthful fashion awareness.

The playful use of transparency – revealing function as a design element – means the product is both functional and a fashionable everyday garment. In doing so, it is deliberately set apart from conventional rider equipment, focusing on current fashion trends instead.

Wait. Where’s the talk of crash protection? We get that further on in the presser: “A newly developed technique (GRDXKN®) allows a protection function to be printed on. This integrated, volume-forming material is abrasion-resistant and impact-absorbing. It creates a completely new interplay of graphics and structure in both outfits, thereby raising function and design to the same level.” If it actually works, that’s kind of cool, maybe even enough to temporarily distract kids from their cellphones?

Minimalist design everywhere. Photo: BMW

After all, BMW’s presser makes it clear that this bike is very much aimed at the youth market. Alexander Buckan, Head of Vehicle Design BMW Motorrad, says “It embodies youthful freedom and a carefree spirit – rather like a skateboard on two wheels.” Indeed, it comes designed to easily carry a skateboard and takeout container. Maybe BMW is also looking to corner the market for Skip The Dishes drivers?

We’ll know more about the CE 02 in coming months, no doubt, as BMW flogs the bike around consumer electronics shows and motorcycle shows.

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