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BMW Motorrad’s electric C evolution

The C evolution. Click to enlarge.

BMW Motorrad is launching its battery-electric C evolution maxi scooter. (Earlier post.) Its two conventionally powered maxi scooter model—C 600 Sport and C 650 GT—combine the ride qualities of a motorcycle with the specific agility and comfort of a scooter; the C evolution adds the dynamism and emissions-free operation of an electric vehicle.

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); maximum torque is 72 N·m (53 lb-ft). 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.

Cutaway of the C evolution showing the batteries and electric drive. Click to enlarge.

The 8 kWh capacity of the air-cooled lithium-ion high-voltage battery allows the two-wheeler to cover a range of up to 100 kilometres (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).

BMW Motorrad has opted for a form of energy regeneration for the C evolution that had not yet been applied to 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.

  • Road mode provides maximum acceleration, approximately 50% energy regeneration when coasting and full regeneration when braking.

  • Eco Pro mode restricts acceleration and therefore energy consumption, 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.

  • Dynamic mode combines full accelerating power with a high degree of recuperation.

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 componentry used in the BMW i3, this was particularly beneficial for electrical safety, which is to passenger car standard.

BMW Motorrad says that 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.

The battery pack is the central component. Click to enlarge.

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 diecast aluminium, 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.

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.

Other features further underline the innovative character of the C evolution. It is equipped with a reversing aid, for example, 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 provides current speed as well as 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 kilometres taking into account the selected ride mode. A bar graph furthermore indicates the current level of energy draw or regeneration.



This could become one of the future replacement for popular ICE scooters. Range will expand with batteries evolution and could more than double by 2018/2020.

e-bicycles are already selling by the million in Asia.



Patrick Free

I hate PHEV cars with <10KWH battery, but a pure EV scooter with 8KWH battery making 100KM range could be a huge hit here,...if not too heavy (Weight not provided) nor too expensive (Price not provided), and fun enough to drive (I tend to trust BMW for that one, but not the previous weight and price).
By definition scooters are exclusively used for local commutes, and 100KM full EV range should mean a charge every 2 x days for most of my friends using one in Paris. Lovely ! Sure there is no range extender to prevent range anxiety here, but in a scooter only used around the city with std power plugs everywhere, that should not be an issue.
If not too heavy and not too expensive it will be a hit.
Only regret is BMW did not put that in their scooter with a roof, since over here with the rain it would be more comfortable.


Patrick, you used the magic words: "not too expensive". Scooters are affordable mobility pretty much all over the urban world (though not in the US as our roads are just not as good, nor as friendly to small-wheeled, mid-speed two-wheelers). There is a price point at which even the wonderfully pleasant e-scoot ride just can't be justified.

Really, I think the only way BMW can manage to build an economically viable scooter is the existence of their auto battery mfg line. Otherwise they'd be back in the $750/kWh and up range. I assembled a 1250Whr pack a couple of years ago for a bike at a greater cost than I'd like to admit. I gave it to one of my kids and have decided not to DIY my new one. The only reliably-built replacement is an AllCell unit; try $1100-1200/kWh! Yeah, there's a BMS and some cell packaging, but that's a level that makes small production rate e-scooters non-viable.

Without direct access to cells in a VERY competitive manufacturing environment, e-scooters are sadly expensive curiosities. I really hope BMW has this nailed because the overall design architecture is really cool.


E-scooters are a great choice, given cost / charging situation.

For automobiles, the biggest killer of EV's are the long-distance travel situations. With scooters this is not the case (or at least the countries I've lived in, no one takes scooters on long trips).

Yes I know the response to this will be "Tesla superchargers, etc" but the truth of the matter is, this just is not an option for the vast majority of people. That and on a practical basis, we will never transfer electrical energy as fast as we can transfer liquid hydrocarbon energy.

100km range on a city scooter?? Great! Once again, all depends on cost and charging infrastructure.

MOST IMPORTANTLY.... no more of the horrible noise from scooters waking me up early in the morning!

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