BMW has a long history of building motorcycles, but it hasn’t done all that well in the electric motorcycle department. Clearly, though, this is something the company is thinking hard about and today, at its inaugural NextGen event, the company showed its newest electric concept bike, the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster.
As usual, there’s no guarantee that this concept will ever come to market. Indeed, it’s likely that it won’t, but it will provide the inspiration for what will eventually go into production.
Going electric is a hard move to make for a company and that has been associated with its 2-cylinder boxer engine for ages. If it wants to produce a successful electric motorcycle, then it needs to be able to offer buyers not just performance (something they get by default with an electric engine and the torque it produces), but also something that retains the brand image buyers associate with BMW motorcycles.
Edgar Heinrich, the Head of Design for BMW Motorrad, argues that the Vision DC Roadster does just that. “The boxer engine is the heart of BMW Motorrad – an absolute stalwart of its character,” he said. “But BMW Motorrad stands for visionary zero-emissions vehicle concepts, too. In view of this, one question that arises is: what would happen if we were to replace the boxer engine with an electric motor and the required battery? The Vision Bike shows how we’re able to retain the identity and iconic appearance of BMW Motorrad in distinctive form while at the same time presenting an exciting new type of riding pleasure.”
Where a typical BMW motorbike would usually have its engine, the Vision roadster has a battery pack with coolers. Throughout the concept, the company’s designers used familiar design elements fro previous generations of the brand’s motorcycles.
In addition to the motorcycle, BMW also today showed off a new concept vehicle, the BMW Vision M Next, a new electrified sports car. The idea here is to provide a counterpart to the existing iNEXT concept that focuses more on performance than ease of use.
“Where the BMW Vision iNEXT illustrated how autonomous driving is set to transform life on board our vehicles, the BMW Vision M NEXT demonstrates how state-of-the-art technology can also make the experience of driving yourself purer and more emotionally engaging,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “In both models, the focus is firmly on the people inside. Design and technology make the ‘EASE’ and ‘BOOST’ experiences more natural and more intense.”
In line with this idea, the new concept vehicle promises to be able to go from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in three seconds and offer a range of about 62 miles (which isn’t all that much). To get access to more power, drivers can also hit a BOOST+ button.
With the M Next, BMW is also showing off some new user interface designs. The interface now adapts to the speed you are driving at, for example, and will automatically give you less information as you drive faster, in order to let you focus as you head down the autobahn at 120 mph.