Today BMW Motorrad has officially unveiled the 100% electric C Evolution scooter in the run up to the Frankfurt Auto Show later this week. Teased as a pre-production concept last July, the production version of C Evolution has finally been revealed. It’s right on time for BMW’s previously announced 2014 launch.
While not surprising, the C Evolution’s unveil is no less significant. This is the first market-viable electric two-wheeler being produced by a major, established manufacturer. Sure, Vectrix has been in this space for the better part of a decade, and with a big scooter not far off the C Evolution in terms of basic performance and range. Both Zero and Brammo are creating better and better offerings, and the Mission R and RS aspire to be for electric motorcycles what the Tesla Roadster was for electric cars: that halo performance offering that makes the idea of an electric vehicle both thrilling and worthy of aspiration.
Yet the C Evolution seems to have its sights set on much more practical goals. With a final production battery range of 60 miles and a top speed of 75mph, the C Evolution aspires to revolutionize your daily commute. This is an extension of BMW Group’s strategic focus on making the Motorrad devision the “center of competency” in urban mobility. Both of the C Evolution’s gasoline burning siblings, the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT are also intended primarily for more practical transportation use (even though they’re both very fun to ride in their own right).
The last piece of the C Evolution equation is price. Where will this bike land in the price spread of the BMW Motorrad lineup? In general, electric drivetrain comes at a premium over its petrol equivalents. With the existing C-Series scooters starting right at $10k, what will a ride into the future cost you?
In the meantime, here’s the full debut release from BMW:
Dynamic riding fun with zero emissions
The arrival of the new C evolution marks the start of a new chapter in the urban mobility segment for BMW Motorrad. The two conventionally powered maxi scooter models – the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT – already succeed in combining the superb ride qualities of a motorcycle with the specific agility of a scooter and the design’s inherent comfort. The new electrically powered C evolution now goes even further by fusing riding fun and dynamism with the benefits of zero-emission performance to create a whole new experience on two wheels.
In keeping with the BMW Group’s sustainability strategy, BMW Motorrad is taking a fully committed approach to electric mobility. As with BMW i, development of the C evolution revolved around creating a visionary vehicle concept offering maximum everyday practicality and an inspirational design.
Powerful drive unit with liquid-cooled electric motor and air-cooled high-voltage battery. Range of 100 kilometers (62 miles) under practical conditions.
The C evolution is powered by a drivetrain swing arm with liquid-cooled permanent magnet synchronous motor via a toothed belt and ring gearing. The rated power output is 11 kW (15 hp), with a peak output of 35 kW (47 hp). This enables the C evolution to achieve a top speed of 120 km/h (75 mph, electronically limited) and gives it better acceleration than some maxi scooters powered by engines with displacements of 600 cc or more.
The generous 8 kWh capacity of the air-cooled lithium-ion high-voltage battery allows the two-wheeler to cover a range of up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) before it needs to be charged from any domestic mains supply. When plugged in to a standard 220V domestic socket with a 12A charge current, recharging fully from empty takes around 4 hours (with 220V / 16A = 3 h).
Intelligent recuperation and four ride modes ensure riding fun as well as efficiency.
BMW Motorrad has opted for a form of energy regeneration for the C evolution that has never been seen before on a single-track vehicle. Recuperation takes place automatically both when coasting with the throttle closed and when braking.
Riders of the C evolution can set their preferred mix of dynamic performance and efficiency by selecting from the four ride modes. In Road mode, for instance, they have at their disposal maximum acceleration, approximately 50 per cent energy regeneration when coasting and full regeneration when braking. In Eco Pro mode, meanwhile, acceleration and therefore energy consumption are restricted, while the maximum possible amount of energy is recuperated. Sail mode suppresses recuperation while coasting, allowing the C evolution to glide along virtually free of any braking effect when the throttle is released. And for an added touch of dynamism, Dynamic mode combines full accelerating power with a high degree of recuperation.
Supreme safety thanks to synergies with BMW Automobile
As part of the BMW Group, BMW Motorrad was able to harness synergies with BMW Automobile during development of the C evolution. Besides adopting the same energy storage modules and electronic components used in the BMW i3, this was particularly beneficial for electrical safety, which is to passenger car standard. The C evolution is the first electrically powered two-wheeler to meet the ISO 26262 standard for functional safety and the ECE R100 standard governing high-voltage safety, both of which have been ratified by the leading carmakers.
As far as the chassis is concerned, the C evolution no longer has a main frame in the conventional sense. The central component here is the battery casing made from die-cast aluminum, which has a steering head support made from steel tubing attached to it at the front and, at the rear, the single-sided swing arm as well as a rear frame, also made from steel tubing. The task of wheel suspension and damping is performed by an upside-down telehydraulic fork at the front and a spring strut mounted on the left at the rear. As on all vehicles from BMW Motorrad, the C evolution comes equipped with safety-boosting ABS together with powerful disc brakes as standard.
Torque Control Assist (TCA) for superior traction control
The new C evolution is available with Torque Control Assist (TCA), which works in a similar way to the Automatic Stability Control feature on BMW motorcycles with combustion engines. TCA limits the motor’s torque depending on the slip at the rear wheel.
To ensure optimum controllability of the drive torque for the rider, the electric motor’s control electronics monitor the rear wheel speed and reduce the drive torque if a certain plausibility threshold is exceeded. TCA is a particularly useful aid for the rider when starting off and prevents uncontrolled spinning of the rear wheel on road surfaces with reduced grip (e.g. wet cobblestones).
The Torque Control Assist additionally serves to stop the rear wheel from skidding when a sharp rate of recuperation produces a correspondingly high level of drag torque, especially on slippery road surfaces.
Large TFT color display and LED daytime running light
A host of other features further underline the innovative character of the C evolution. It is equipped with a reversing aid, for instance, that enables easy maneuvering at walking pace. There is also a first in the form of an LED daytime running light, which additionally dims to double as the sidelight. And for added comfort on cold days, there are heated handlebar grips.
A large TFT color display in the instrument cluster offers a wealth of information. Apart from the current speed, the rider is also kept informed of data such as the average consumption in kWh/100 km, total power consumption, battery charge status in kWh, average speed, voltage of the on-board electrical system and the high-voltage system, as well as the remaining range in kilometers taking into account the selected ride mode. A bar graph furthermore indicates the current level of energy draw or regeneration.
Last but not least, the C evolution also charts new territory in terms of styling and color scheme. Design-wise, the C evolution fits harmoniously into the BMW Motorrad family, while the color combination of Light White non-metallic and Electric Green symbolizes its ability to blend maximum eco-friendliness with superb dynamic performance.
The highlights at a glance:
- Innovative electric drive system via drivetrain swing arm with liquid-cooled permanent magnet synchronous motor, toothed belt and ring gearing.
- • Rated power output 11 kW (homologated according to ECE R85) and 35 kW peak output.
- • Maximum torque 72 Nm (53 lb-ft).
- • Top speed 120 km/h (75 mph).
- • Acceleration 0 – 50 km/h (31 mph) in 2.7 s.
- • Acceleration 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.2 s.
- • High range of 100 kilometres (62 miles) in practical operation.
- • Four ride modes available to choose from: Road, Eco Pro, Sail and Dynamic.
- • Reversing aid for supremely easy maneuvering.
- • Torque Control Assist (TCA).
- • High-voltage battery with high capacity of 8 kWh and innovative air cooling.
- • Intelligent recuperation when coasting and when braking.
- • Recharged from the domestic mains supply.
- • Takes just 4 h to charge to 100 % capacity at 220V / 12A (220V / 16A = 3 h).
- • Synergies with BMW Automobile harnessed during development.
- • Electrical safety to passenger car standards.
- • Hybrid chassis with agile handling due to low centre of gravity.
- • Powerful braking system with ABS.
- • Large TFT color display.
- • LED daytime running light and sidelight.
- • Inspirational color scheme and design.