BMW Goes Electric on Two Wheels, Too
In the past few years, the auto industry has been busy moving to electric drive. Much of the attention has been on cars and even semi trucks, but the motorcycle world is being impacted as well. One prime example is BMW’s new model of scooter. Let’s see why the new BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter is a game changer.
BMW is moving to electrify on two wheels and four
The Emergence of BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter
The motorcycle industry has becoming more and more competitive over the years. New companies have emerged on the scene and old companies continue to make innovations. BMW, for one, made another creation–the BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter.
BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter: The Specifications
Let’s look at this motorcycle’s specifications and features to get a better idea of why it has become such a game changer in the industry.
Model: C Series
Engine: Electric Motor
Top Speed: 80 mph
Battery: Air-cooled high-voltage battery
Battery Voltage: 133 V (nominal)
Features of the New BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter
The C Evolution is available in Ionic Silver Metallic and Electric Green. The color scheme emphasizes the shape of the motorcycle. Additionally, the touch of light electric green with the complementary color of the ionic silver, creates an attractive guise.
The electric performance of the C Evolution is at the same level as that of a combustion engine. With its 19 kW continuous output, and 35 kW peak output, this motorcycle offers remarkable power.
The C Evolution uses the same plug as electric cars
The version of the C Evolution for the European market also provides about the same level of drive power, with an 11 kW continuous output.
The C Evolution’s European version has top speeds of 129 km/h (80 mph)in long range and 120 km/h (74.5 mph) in the average range. So make sure you have all your safety equipment along.
With its engine technology, the C Evolution can take motorway driving and overtaking with complete ease. It can even carry two people with the same level of affluence. Plus, it can handle just about any type of road – from a steep slope to narrow roads.
Compared to traditional combustion engines, the C Evolution’s electric drive offers significant driving advantages, especially when you’re at low speeds. Its power electronics set-up allows the rider to have a sensitive and spontaneous response.
- Innovative Electric Drive
The C Evolution’s electric drive is integral to its swing arm. The e-motor behind the motorcycle’s battery casing functions as the swing arm’s integrated component.
BMW’s C Evolution also enables an optimum suspension set-up and a sensitive, yet spontaneous response. This is made possible by the proximity of the e-motor output shaft and the arm axles. Together, they minimize the inertia around the swing arm’s center of rotation.
The motorcycle’s secondary drive is positioned by the tooth belt from the location of the e-motor to the output shaft. The total gear reduction of the secondary drive is 1:8.28, and the e-motor’s maximum rotational speed is 10,000 rpm.
BMW has conducted a number of different road tests in order to develop a method of energy recuperation. Moreover, the C Evolution’s intelligent recuperation is unique from any other sing-track vehicles in the market. More importantly, it doesn’t have to initiate recuperation as the vehicle does the recuperation automatically when necessary.
BMW’s electric two-wheeler can keep up with the competition
The C Evolution makes use of Torque Control Assist (TCA) as the vehicle’s slip control feature. TCA limits the engine torque on rear wheel slip.
These features are only a few of the reasons why the new BMW C Evolution Electric Scooter is a game changer. Give it a try and see so for yourself. Basically, The C Evolution electric scooter has a lot of features to offer.
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I ride this new e-bike past thousands strolling along the San Francisco Bay. Travelers ferry to Tiburon, Sausalito, and Alcatraz. Large catamarans race the wind as they prepare for the America’s Cup. The Golden Gate Bridge majestically displays our gateway to Asia.
I am test riding a new Specialized Turbo electric-assist bicycle. Since I live in San Francisco the roads are familiar but the speed is new. For the first time, when I leave bicycle paths and merge into traffic I can maintain the same speed as the cars. The ride feels safer and faster.
Specialized is trying to create a new category of high-end performance urban e-bike. With the touch of a button, I can shift between modes such as Turbo, Eco, and Off, as well as shift thru 8 gears. Much of the ride is in Eco-mode where the 250-watt electric motor assists my pedaling. In Turbo mode, that 342 kWh battery delivers enough power that I can sustain over 25 mph in traffic. In eco-mode I can extend the battery charge.
On flat bicycle paths I can turn off the electric assist and get a good workout. Because the aluminum-frame Turbo weighs 50 pounds, it feels like more work when pedaling without the electric motor than when riding my hybrid bicycle.
San Francisco hills that normally are a challenge to climb in my easiest gears, standing up, are now easily conquered in this e-bike.
Other bicycle riders are stunned by how easily we zip pass them. At first glance, the Specialized Turbo looks like a performance hybrid bicycle. The lithium-ion battery pack is integrated into an oversized down tube. The powerful 250-watt electric motor integrates into the rear wheel hub. The 700mm x45mm tires easily handle going over bumps and curves.
Navigant Research forecasts that annual sales of e-bicycles will grow from 31 million in 2013 to nearly 38 million in 2020. Over 100 million e-bicycles are now in use, with over 90 percent of those in China. Navigant summarizes its research:
…the e-bicycle market is in a state of change. Western Europe’s market is growing increasingly crowded with competitors and now accounts for more than 20% of global e-bicycle revenue annually. Meanwhile, North American players are finding new, younger e-bicycle consumers among those who ride for transportation rather than entertainment. Even the massive 28 million unit Chinese market is in a state of change as the government considers changes to the rules governing the market and consumers begin to recognize the value of lithium ion over lead-acid batteries.
At $5,900 for the Turbo, Specialized is reaching for the high-end of the market. Performance enthusiasts are buying the Turbo in Germany and other European countries. Now the same enthusiast are likely to buy this ultra–performance bike in the USA. With record numbers of Americans now living in cities, e-bikes have significant potential for daily commuters. In San Francisco, 6 percent of city commutes are on bicycle and the city has a goal of 20 percent by 2020. Killer hills make that 20 percent a challenge. Yes, some will spend $6000 on a high-end e-bike instead of buying a car. Many of these will get to work faster and avoid thousands in car parking annual fees. Another potential market is university students who find car mobility limited and expensive on campus.
As I loop through the massive Presidio park I notice that people are smiling at me as I pedal past them. I notice that smile frequently as I ride. This Turbo is a thrill.
In 12 miles, I used 48 percent of the battery capacity, a perfectly adequate range for a daily commuter. The battery can be fully recharged from empty in 2.5 hours with a 4-amp charger, or in 5 hours with a 2-amp travel charger, which would be handy, to take on longer rides with work or lunch stops. A commuter rack is optional for those using panniers or carrying extra stuff. The battery pack can be unlocked and carried inside to make charging convenient with any 110-volt outlet.
In my garage at home, my $1000 Specialized Sirrus hybrid bicycle now stands next to my Nissan LEAF electric car. I am tempted to spend $6,000 on a new Turbo e-bike and spend less time driving the car.
Since I am not a daily commuter, the $6,000 seems a bit extravagant. If I buy the bike then it is only fair that my wife moves ahead with her $6,000 redecorating project, so I face a $12,000 decision. Although I cannot cost justify the purchase in cents per mile, perhaps I can in smiles per gallon.
By John Addison (December 29, 2006)
A recent movie and several books asked the question “Who killed the electric car?” then answered GM. Indeed, the major auto makers successfully defeated California’s attempt to mandate that 10% of car sales be electric vehicles (EV). GM retrieved the EV1 at the end of their lease periods and crushed almost all. Yet, GM and other auto makers have continued to pour billions into electric motors, advanced batteries, hybrid-electric propulsion, and electric vehicles where hydrogen fuel cells supply electricity to electric motors.
The more relevant question is this, “Will electric vehicles kill General Motors?” Most people on the planet cannot afford gasoline powered cars. Increasingly they can save $200 for an electric scooter. Over 30 million people drive electric vehicles.Jonathan Weinert reports on the exploding popularity of e-bikes in China.
As incomes increase, early adopters in China, India and other emerging nations will upgrade to new generations of light electric vehicles (LEV). Most of these vehicles will have 3 or 4 wheels and carry increasing numbers of passengers and loads. One is the three-wheeler made by Shandong Jindalu Vehicle Company in a joint venture with U.S. Zap Motors. The Xebra can reach 40 mph with a range of 40 miles. One model includes a solar panel roof for recharging the batteries. The small car is a four door sedan. Because of its drivetrain in the U.S. it is classified as a 3-wheel motorcycle.
Another of these vehicles is a new Chinese 4kW electric all terrain vehicle (ATV) that Zap will distribute in the U.S. The vehicle will have two electric wheel motors. China is developing several EVs that will be far less expensive than anything GM builds in the USA. China’s research and development group has developed a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle named Spring Light 3 with a go to market target price of $5,000.
In the U.S., there is slow development of a network of hydrogen fueling stations. There is a massive investment in gasoline stations. The oil industry exerts tremendous political power in the United States. China, however, does not have a massive investment in gasoline stations. China does have a significant network of natural gas stations where onsite reformation of hydrogen can be added. In fact, China will transport millions of 2008 Olympic visitors in buses and taxis running on hydrogen blended with natural gas.
Established market leaders commonly ignore or sarcastically dismiss low-cost and under-powered alternatives to their market leading products. The low cost 3-wheel Xebra appears to be a zero threat to the luxury Cadillac’s that General Motors executives drive. Initially, downloaded music in MP3 players had poor sound quality and was illegal. Now the music industry is transformed as people listen to high-quality music downloaded to their iPods and smartphones.
IBM was so dominant with mainframe computers that it suffered years of anti-trust litigation. Digital Computers sold far less powerful, but cheaper, mini-computers to labs. IBM ignored the threat of the mini-computer until the information technology industry had shifted to networked minis. Continual innovation and dropping prices of chips and networking brought another revolution with PCs replacing mini-computers. Digital did not learn from its own disruptive success and dismissed PCs as useless. Digital was later bought by Compaq, the very company that disrupted the minicomputer success. PCs are now under attack by the Internet. Microsoft is watching Google very carefully.
Just as a body’s immune system will try to reject a newly transplanted heart, successful organizations reject disruptive change. The phenomenon is so common that business schools now require the reading of Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma and Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm. Let us hope that the executives of GM are re-reading these classics. Reading my book Revenue Rocket is also recommended.
The interiors of vehicles are becoming electronic in everything from displays to entertainment systems to GPS guidance. Under the hood, it is the same story. Mechanical parts are being replaced by electronic components. In hybrid vehicles, electric motors are doing more; the companion gasoline engines are getting smaller. In the future vehicles will be primarily electronic. Internal combustion engines will be retired. Small vehicles not requiring long-range will get their power from the electric grid. Vehicles requiring more range or carrying heavier loads will be electric vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells.
Some at GM get this. GM’s CEO Rick Wagoner has stated plans to lead in plug-in hybrids, when battery technology meets its quality standards. The vehicle will use a big 3.6L engine.
GM is currently putting 100 hydrogen fuel cell Equinoxes on the road. A couple of weeks ago, I drove this exciting vehicle on surface streets and on the freeway. It is a powerful car that many would want to own. The R&D people at GM have an exciting vision that includes advanced batteries; regenerative braking; a thin “skateboard” platform common to multiple vehicles; drive-by-wire replacement of mechanical links to pedals and steering wheel; and electric motors. GM plans to start selling its next generation fuel cell vehicle by 2011.
GM is also involved in successful joint ventures in China. GM has done well in China in its joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. These joint ventures also have the risk of developing future competitors as seen when Shanghai Automotive recently unveiled its own brand luxury car. GM has a Chinese fuel cell vehicle development. Will the heart transplant take? Or will the patient’s antibodies reject the needed organ? In 2005, GM reported a loss of over $10 billion. Its global market share has shrunk to 13%. Thanks to its pension obligations, labor contracts and overhead, it cannot make a small car at a profit. It focuses on large SUVs and large trucks with gas guzzling engines in hopes of making money. The bulk of the corporate momentum is not in future electric vehicles but in big vehicles with engines.
While major GM competitors may not be planning on a low cost EV for the global market, they are planning on small fuel-efficient low cost vehicles. Toyota will be building a small car in China for the global market including the United States. DaimlerChrysler has signed a letter of intent with China’s Chery Automobile Co. that will allow the auto maker to build small cars in China to be sold throughout the world, including the U.S.
Toyota, riding on the success of hybrids and more fuel-efficient vehicles, is overtaking GM’s position as #1 market share leader globally. It threatens to beat GM to market with a plug-in hybrid. Within three years, Nissan Motor Co. plans to develop and market subcompact electric cars powered by self-developed lithium-ion batteries.
Honda wowed visitors at the LA Auto Show with its 350-mile range hydrogen fuel-cell Concept FCX, which it will start leasing to consumers and business in 2008. When Honda started selling motor scooters in the U.S. in 1959, GM could not have anticipated Honda’s future success in cars. Now as the global market shifts towards electric vehicles, Honda is also one of the leader’s in selling e-bikes in Asia. Is it déjà vu all over again?
In the sea of change that is beginning, tsunamis are racing to crash on America’s shores. One is Asian production of vehicles with electric drive systems. Another is the disappearance of cheap oil. Another is global demand for affordable vehicles. We will see how skillfully GM navigates in a perfect storm.