By Jody McCutcheon
Two-wheeled transport has never been so appealing, especially for riders of electric scooters. Forget e-bike speed limits, deafening Vespas and their associated fumes. BMW has thrown its hat into the electric ring with the C Evolution.
The sleek, stylish C Evolution boasts a mix of brawn and brains. The brawn comes from an electric motor offering a rated output of 11kW with a peak output of 35kW, enabling an electronically limited top speed of 120km/h that allows for highway driving and a maximum torque of 72Nm. The Evolution will accelerate (silently!) from 0–50km in an impressive 2.7 seconds.
The brains come courtesy of a unique form of energy recuperation, via braking and also coasting with the throttle closed. Four driving modes mix and match various energy draw and regeneration levels.
Road mode offers maximum acceleration with about fifty percent energy recuperation during coasting and full recuperation during braking. Dynamic mode provides full acceleration with a high degree of energy recuperation. In Sail mode, energy recuperation is suppressed while coasting, allowing for the scooter to glide free of any braking effect when the throttle is released. Finally, in Eco Pro mode, acceleration and thus energy consumption are restricted, while energy recuperation is maximized.
An air-cooled, lithium-ion, high-voltage battery with a capacity of 8kWh gives a peak range of 100km in Road mode. Eco Pro mode extends the range ten to twenty percent. The C Evolution can be charged from any domestic mains supply. From a 220V domestic socket with a 12A charge current, full charge is achieved in four hours (220V/16A in three hours).
Safety features include a low centre of gravity facilitating safety and agility in handling, anti-lock braking on standard disc brakes and a Torque Control Assist, which augments traction control on slippery roads, as when the scooter is just starting to move or when sharp energy recuperation creates a high level of drag torque.
Other highlights include a reverse aid for easy backward maneuvering, an LED daytime running light and heated handlebar grips for those cold mornings on the road. A TFT (thin film transistor) liquid crystal display conveys important information, including including current and average speed, total power consumption, battery charge status in kWh, remaining range (taking into account selected drive mode) and a bar graph showing current level of energy draw or regeneration. The white-and-green colour scheme symbolizes a commitment to eco-friendliness.
Combining the versatility and dynamism of a scooter with the exhilaration of a motorcycle and the guiltless pleasures of emission-free riding, the BMW C Evolution Electric Motorcycle may be a revelation for those who prefer their scooters electric.