BMW Motorrad has created a new suburban commuter scooter, and all it’s missing is a combustion engine and a frame.
The E-Scooter concept was built to show that even suburban commuters can rely on electric, two-wheeled transport options. With more than a 60 mile range and a recharge time of around three hours, it’s aimed at those who live outside city centers and are tired of dealing with parking and traffic gridlock.
And though it has a small footprint, it won’t get swallowed up by traffic. The scooter is specifically tuned to provide maximum power between 0 and 37 mph, which BMW says is the ideal range where suburban commuters usually drive. It can even safely seat two without losing power.
“While the currently available, purely electrically-powered scooters have been almost exclusively used inside towns and cities to date due to their performance and range,” the company said, “the concept vehicle BMW E-Scooter offers a much broader spectrum of use.”
The bike’s specs are possible thanks to an innovative design that uses the aluminum battery casing in lieu of a main frame. BMW says the rear frame, swing arm and steering head are all mounted to the aluminum battery case. While the electric motor and electronics are liquid cooled, the battery itself is air cooled in order to save space.
The drivetrain is also somewhat unique. Instead of a hub motor with direct drive or planetary gearbox, the electric motor is mounted behind the battery and connected via toothed belt to the belt pulley, which is mounted coaxially on the swinging fork pivot with drive pinion. A roller chain connects to the rear wheel. This setup allows for regenerative braking which BMW says can increase range between 10 and 20 percent.
The company had been hard at work drawing up plans for an electric scooter when funding from the German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development helped bring the concept to life. BMW is calling it a “development study,” which means we may soon see E-Scooters silently buzzing around the outskirts of European cities. —Paul Duchene