BMW Motorrad has pulled the cover off their latest two-wheeled vehicle today. The company showcased their latest electric motorcycle concept, known as the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster.
BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster
BMW Motorrad is no stranger to electric two-wheelers, of course.
The company is known for the BMW C Evolution electric maxi scooter. With a top speed of 80 mph (129 km/h), it is nearly as fast as some entry-level Zero electric motorcycles.
And now the company is getting even more serious about electric two-wheelers with its latest electric motorcycle concept.
In doing so, BMW has replaced its motorcycle’s iconic boxer engine with an electric motor and laterally mounted batteries in the Vision DC Roadster concept. The announcement comes on a day when BMW is also unveiling updates to its accelerated plans for its entire electric vehicle lineup.
Edgar Heinrich, the Head of Design for BMW Motorrad, claims this has helped the company maintain BMW’s design legacy:
“The boxer engine is the heart of BMW Motorrad – an absolute stalwart of its character. But BMW Motorrad stands for visionary zero-emissions vehicle concepts, too. In view of this, one question that arises is: what would happen if we were to replace the boxer engine with an electric motor and the required battery? The Vision Bike shows how we’re able to retain the identity and iconic appearance of BMW Motorrad in distinctive form while at the same time presenting an exciting new type of riding pleasure. After all, anyone who’s ever tried it out in practice knows very well that riding on two wheels is just as exciting when its electrically powered! The high level of torque right at set-off makes for breath taking acceleration. This almost brutal power delivery creates a whole new experience of dynamic performance. And the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster puts a face to this experience.”
BMW motorcycles (and all gas-powered motorcycles) have generally consisted of engine-dominated designs due to the physically large size of internal combustion engines. But since electric motors can make more power and torque in much smaller formats, batteries generally lead the design cues in electric motorcycles.
BMW Motorrad appears to have opted for a design influence led by large cooling fins for the battery pack. Lateral cooling inlets on the side draw inspiration from BMWs boxer engine.
Additionally, dual brake levers can be seen on the handlebars instead of a single lever and rear foot brake, which are more common on most motorcycle designs. The unique gear-less and clutch-less operation of electric motorcycles allow for dual hand brake levers – a feature becoming more common across the electric motorcycle industry.
The Vision DC Roadster design relies heavily on aluminum and carbon fiber. Both materials are used to reduce the weight of the electric motorcycle and thus increase its performance.
BMW has not released any performance or technical specs for the Vision DC Roadster yet though. The BMW C Evolution uses a 12.7 kWh battery module from the BMW i3 car, giving the C Evolution a range of 159 km (99 miles). To streamline development, the Vision DC Roadster may also make use of such a battery pack – if it ever sees production.
For more BMW EV concepts unveiled today, visit our main post about the BWM NEXTGen event.
It’s always exciting to see new electric motorcycles, especially from major motorcycle manufacturers.
I don’t want to say that BMW Motorrad is late to the game, especially since the BMW C Evolution has been around for years and they’ve even toyed with electric motorcycle concepts before. But they are kind of late to the game, at least when it comes to real electric motorcycles. And not just because Zero has been in the game for over a decade.
It seems that all of the major motorcycle brands have made progress towards EVs. The Big Four in Japan, consisting of Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki have all been working on their own electric two-wheelers and even formed a consortium to create a single battery and charging standard.
Legacy companies like Triumph and Harley-Davidson are also working on EVs, though the latter has certainly made much more progress.
So while I applaud BMW for their new Vision DC Roadster concept, I’m also wondering “Where were you all this time?!”
And I’m not holding my breath either. I’ll believe it when I see it on the road. Or at least at EICMA.
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