Everyone agrees that sustainability is the key to our future urban mobility needs but until now, electric-powered alternatives to petrol-driven powered two-wheelers have failed to match our requirements and desires, in terms of acceleration, top speed and range. Indeed, ‘distance until empty’ in real world riding conditions has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks to ownership. But with the new BMW C evolution, those with aspirations for zero-emission travel – both in and out of the urban environment – can finally have their cake and eat it.
The presentation of five ‘near production’ C evolution e-scooter prototypes to motoring journalist during the Olympic Games in London is not only clear proof of BMW Motorrad’s confidence in its future orientated vehicle, but also its intention to lead the field in single track e-mobility.
A brief summary of the key features of the C Evolution show that form, function and technology can combine to create a desirable, eco-friendly alternative to the traditional combustion-engined two-wheeler.
Performance figures boast an electronically limited 120 km/h top speed that brings two-up motorway cruising well within the reach of the C evolution as well as fast overtakes on single-track roads and dual carriageways. Of course, the urban environment is where it excels – with instant, strong acceleration due to the high torque characteristics of the electric motor that puts it on a part with current maxi scooters of 600cc or more. Expect lots of surprises at the ‘traffic lights Grand Prix’â¦
Although increasing numbers of people work in our city centres, the high cost of housing is forcing many into the suburbs, with the resulting longer journey times. Having the confidence that an electronically-powered vehicle will get you to work – and home again – is paramount, which is why BMW has developed and equipped the C evolution with a battery capable of powering it up to 100 km before a recharge is needed. Synergy with its car division (the C evolution used the same lithium-ion storage models as the futuristic i3) has allowed developers to create this unique high-power battery with an extremely generous 8 kWh of storage capacity.
Almost as high on the wish-list of would-be purchasers are short charging times for the battery. Impressively, even when the battery is completely flat, charging time is usually less than three hours – with a 70 per cent charge only taking around half an hour! Furthermore, an integrated cable fitted with mains plug means the C evolution can be plugged into a regular household socket or charging station.
Clever use of technology means that the range of the C evolution can be extended by up to 20 per cent because of energy recuperation when the throttle is closed, and also by converting kinetic energy to electrical energy during braking. With the energy balance displayed on the dashboard by means of a ‘progress’ bar (which indicates whether energy is being converted into forward motion or recuperation) expect many owners to change their riding style to maximise range. Active sustainability, you might say.
As for handling and road-holding, as well as being designed in the first place to perform more like a motorcycle than a traditional scooter, a natural advantage of the C evolutions’s battery position is that it offers an extremely low centre of gravity, which gives the rider a machine that feels extremely light in handling – particularly at low speed and in urban traffic. Powerful, dual-channel ABS brakes at the front and rear help scrub off speed safely, even though the Bosch 9M system weighs just 700 grams!
So, in brief, the C evolution goes fast, stops quickly and gets you and a pillion a long way – and back home again – in emissions-free comfort. It’s lean, clean and meets the environmental challenges of the future – now. Did we also mention that it looks great too?
For more information on the BMW C evolution, visit www.bmw-motorrad.com/c-evolution