As a pioneer in electric mobility, BMW is attempting to regain the mantle. BMW unveiled a bold new electric scooter design as part of a suite of announcements detailing the latest products of the German automaker: the Motorrad Definition CE 04.
The company has not published any specifications in true concept form, and it hasn’t said whether or when it will turn into a real motorcycle that people can purchase. But BMW said its goal was to “redefine the scooter segment,” and without putting anything into development, you can’t do that very well.
Most noticeably, a design straight out of a William Gibson novel has the Motorrad Description CE 04 (god, what a mouthful). A clean break from the look of scooters as we know them is created by the elongated, low vehicle body and diagonally rising front end. In the underbody, the battery (size unknown) lies flat, providing more storage space. For example, a helmet can be stashed away in a concealed compartment below the seat.
As part of the design, BMW said it intentionally set up the bike’s technology, which is why the side panels do not fully cover the rear portion of the vehicle. That hint of the internal mechanics of the scooter gives a more industrial feel to the CE 04 than your typical Vespa.
“A scooter is not a ‘fun bike’ that is taken in fine weather to ride in the mountains, but a practical daily vehicle for driving from home to the office or meeting friends at night – just a vehicle in the city for every day,” says Alexander Buckan, who heads the Motorrad division of BMW, in a statement.
If and when it chooses to shift the CE 04 out of the design category and into the realm of practice, BMW will have plenty of competition. Today, a range of relatively affordable motor scooters are available and more are on the way. This year, in the US, China’s NIU began selling its electric moped. The scooters from NIU are used by the Revel sharing service, which has launched its rental service in a handful of major cities.