BMW C-evolution Scooter First Look

August 1, 2012
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
Associate Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

BMW estimates the C evolution will top out at around 75 mph.
BMW estimates the C evolution will top out at around 75 mph and take riders 62 miles on a single charge.

BMW Motorrad has announced the debut of its third E-Scooter iteration, the “C-evolution.” Hailing the C-evolution scooter as “near-production” BMW promises urban commuters a reliable, zero-emission vehicle with performance comparable to a conventional maxi-scooter. BMW is already giving select consumers a chance to test the prototype, most notably at the Olympic Games in London where the German marque will be giving journalists, car-makers and select VIPs first crack at the C-evolution. BMW also plans to explore infrastructure opportunities during their real-world testing of the new scoot which, according to a PR recently released, includes “establishing a network of e-mobility providers which might include vehicle rental companies and car-sharing firms.”

The folks at BMW claim the C-evolution has an electronically limited top speed close to 75 mph and that a single charge of the 8 kWh battery will take a rider nearly 62 miles. The lithium-ion battery in the C-evolution (sourced from BMW’s i3 electric automobile prototype) takes three hours to recharge if completely flat. BMW touts the C-evolution’s “car-type charging socket” will allow the scooter to be charged at existing stations throughout the US. According to BMW PR, no other electronically powered two-wheeled vehicle comes with this technology.

The claim to contend with “current maxi scooters (of) a capacity of 600cc or more,” might be a stretch (the 2011 Suzuki Bergman 650 Executive tops out at an estimated 115 mph and with a range of around 150 miles from its four-gallon tank), however, the C-evolution appears to be an impressive piece of equipment. To help prolong the life of the battery, BMW designed an air-cooled system whereby “the heat of the high-voltage battery is dissipated by means of an aerodynamically optimized cooling air shaft at the center of the battery casing through which there is a constant flow of air.” At the base, longitudinally arranged cooling ribs help ensure “optimum heat dissipation.” This system is in contrast to the typical use of cooling agents in electric cars currently on the market.

BMW is testing the C evolution in real world situations during the London Olympics.
BMW is testing the C evolution in real world situations during the London Olympics.

The sizeable battery, placed low on the scooter, gives the C-evolution a low center of gravity which, according the BMW, helps to make the scooter stable and agile at high speeds and in urban traffic. The battery case makes up much of the chassis and is made of light alloy and integrated into the single-sided drivetrain swingarm. Though it doesn’t mention particulars, BMW claims that the C-evo is comparable in weight to it internal combustion maxi scooter rivals.

The C-evolution drivetrain is housed in the swingarm, with a motor and belt drive transmitting power to the rear wheel. The claim is that since the proximity of the motor output and swingarm axle is so close, “the moment of inertia around the swing arm center of rotation is minimized.”

Power recuperation is another feature highlighted by the German manufacturer. Recuperation is carried out in two ways, “when the throttle grip is closed and the generator function of the alternator creates drag torque,” and during braking when kinetic energy is converted into electric energy to charge the battery. A conventional 40mm upside-down fork and rear shock carry out the suspension duties. A front dual-piston floating caliper twin brake disc system with 270mm diameter disc, and a single disc of the same size in the rear, complete with BMW Motorrad ABS ensure riders will be able to stop with confidence at that red light.

The C-Evolution will no doubt be a pricey investment (no MSRP was listed) but for the urbanites out there looking for an eco-friendly scooter produced by a major auto manufacturer, the production model release will no doubt be an exciting day.