The BMW C Evolution Sets a New Bar for Scooters

After trying to carve out a new class with it’s safety-conscious C1 Scooter, BMW is taking a more conventional approach to craft the latest ultimate riding machine. The German automaker rolled out its newest scooter at the Paris Motor Show—the all-electric BMW C Evolution. Although this “green” (figurative and partially literal) machine may have been overshadowed by a slew of forward-thinking hybrids and redesigns muscle cars, BMW’s “near-production prototype” generated buzz for its convenience, particularly on tight European grids.

BMW may not have taken any wild risks with its newest scooter, but the C Evolution is sure to catch the eye of sustainability-conscious riders looking for a smooth vehicle.

60 Miles of Freedom

The electric vehicle market is currently limited by range anxiety and overlong charging times, but if BMW’s specs are accurate, the C Evolution eliminates at least one these issues. The Evolution features a top end range of 60 miles (in ideal conditions). The 47 hp electric motor charges in 3 hours, according to BMW, meaning riders can rely on this gas-free motor for their everyday commutes.

The C Evolution uses the same lithium-ion battery as the i3 — BMW’s urban-centric electric car expected to be released in 2013. An aerodynamically optimized air shaft dissipates battery heat, and at 35 kW peak output, the scooter can reach up to 75 miles per hour, according to caranddriver.com.

A battery-powered motor placed closer to the ground than traditional engines creates a lower center of gravity, improving stability and reducing the risk that riders will find themselves in a BMW repair center.

Humming Along

The C Evolution sneaks up to high speeds with its quiet, responsive engine. Riders may feel uneasy without the typical engine rumble as they accelerate, but early returns say this scooter performs just as well as gas-powered counterparts. Motorcycle blog Visor Down got its hands on this unreleased scooter, noting its responsive motor and almost-too-easy demeanor on the road.

Limited sound may enhance the ride for the driver, but it can have serious consequences in a city filled with bikers and pedestrians. Even as the C Evolution approaches high speeds, an almost silent engine gives no indication the surrounding pedestrians should take caution. Visor Down wonders why, with all of its technology, BMW couldn’t have included some sort of engine sound equivalent in the name of safety.

Latest Technology

The Evolution’s TFT display looks more like an iPhone than a traditional dashboard, and all necessary status displays are clearly visible. LED day and nighttime lighting keeps riders visible at all times.

Price May Be a Factor

This zero-emissions, quick-charging scooter has enough range for most day-to-day commutes, so what’s the catch? It could be price. Visor Down reports that the C Evolution prototypes cost six figures to produce, while BMW’s petrol-powered C scooters cost around $10,000 retail. BMW may consider leasing the C Evolution according to Visor Down, but until production costs drop, it’s hard to many consumers springing for this state-of-the-art scooter.

This article was provided by Nicholas Taylor. Nick likes to say he’s the luckiest guy in the world–he gets paid to drive new cars and write about them. When he’s not test driving the latest Porsche, Chevy or Audi, he’s down at the pool swimming laps.

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