Most things BMW are eye candy and more. This 2018 BMW C Evolution electric scooter falls right in line with our expectations.
Let’s review the stats first, then what was BMW’s thinking behind the production of $14,000 electric scooter.
• Base Price: $13,750
• Price, as Tested: $14,640
• Powertrain: Air-cooled lithium-ion battery pack with on-board charger; liquid-cooled e-motor; belt drive.
• Power/Torque: 48 hp/53 lb-ft
• Battery Pack: 8 kWh, 94 Ah, 133 V
• Range: 99 miles
• Recharge Time: 4.5 hours (220V)
• Curb Weight: 606 pounds
• 0-30 mph: 2.8 seconds
• Top Speed: 80 mph
Let’s talk about some of the benefits these numbers add up to.
The first benefit is obvious — this BMW C Evolution is a powerful and stylish commuter scooter. What is not so obvious is the C Evolution scooter is maintenance free. Water in the fuel or a fouled spark plug will never impede your commute.
Anatomically, this machine approaches the characteristics of a motorcycle but with a tamed grace making it suitable for a diverse range of riders who enjoy a two-wheel ride in the open air. Contributing to the look and feel of a motorcycle is the absence of floorboards and the step-through design typical of motor scooters.
The resemblance to a motorcycle includes the fixed forward fairing, the forward foot position, a belt drive single-swingarm, and the single rear coil cover. If you don’t know what the last two descriptions are, you are not a biker. But I bet riding this scooter will quickly make you one.
Like most scooters, the C Evolution is easy to ride — just hop on, twist the throttle and go. Stability and handling confidence is provided by the C Evolution’s low saddle height, and it’s extra-low center-of-gravity. The power/torque and speed may not approach that of a motorcycle, but it is exhilarating, a heck of a lot of fun, and safer than an ordinary scooter on the highway.
Powering the C Evolution is its air-cooled 8-kWh, 94-amp-hour lithium battery pack. This battery uses the same cells that power the BMW i3 electric car. However, the cells account for both the enormous weight and high cost of this mega-scooter. Regenerative braking is used to replenish the battery as the bike coasts or reduces speed.
Did we mention quiet? You’ll probably never notice that in city driving, but countryside motoring will be doable with the battery range of 99 miles.Even a conservative 80-mile range will get you there and back.
What’s behind BMW’s marketing strategy?
BMW motorcycle innovation is legendary and worthy of an article in itself, so it’s natural for them to stay in the bike business.
BMW is looking at the future of personal transportation in two ways: the first being electric and secondly the massive number of vehicles over crowding urban zones. An electric scooter solves both of these problems by moving one human through space quickly. In other words, if you can’t reduce the number of vehicles on city streets, a perfect market solution is to make them smaller.
A more obvious need for a redesign is declining motorcycle sales as a result of changing consumer demographics. Once ardent motorcycle enthusiasts, boomers are aging out of their riding years. The three-wheel motorcycle has become a substitute for boomer motorcyclists, but it is no formula for market expansion.
To grow the two-wheel transportation category, the C Evolution Scooter is BMW’s solution for redesigning around qualities that young people value, like zero emissions, ride-ability, and urbanity.
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