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BMW developing an ‘electric G310’

BMW is working on an electric motorcycle, about G310 size, which will use drivetrain technology from its CE-04 scooter. This a change of tack for the Bavarian company, which until now has only dabbled with high performance electric machines such as the Vision DC Roadster concept bike and the E-Power Roadster prototype. BMW itself acknowledges that battery power is well suited to shorter urban journeys and commuting.

Hence its recent application for use of what appears to be the battery, motor and electronics from the EC-04 in a motorcycle package. The motorcycle ‘envelope’ is far more compact than that of BMW’s electric scooter, and the G310’s wheelbase, for example is over 300mm shorter than that of the EC-04. So the scooter components have been radically rejigged to fit a shorter but taller space. The motor, mounted horizontally on most electric bikes and scooters, is turned through 90 degrees and tilted at a 45-degree angle, with a bevel gear taking drive to the front sprocket. The battery pack is also tilted up to squeeze everything into a shorter wheelbase.

An ‘E310’ would be quicker than the petrol-powered G-series, with an extra 8bhp and more than double the torque. However, it would also cost significantly more to buy, as the EC-04 currently starts at £12,850.

So is BMW hedging its bets, acknowledging that the future is electric for urban transport while hoping that combustion engines can survive in high performance bikes? Some of its car industry colleagues appear to be willing to go all-electric. Audi CEO Markus Duesmann has confirmed that it is phasing out ICE altogether. “Whoever develops the last combustion engine,” he said, “will have to spend a great deal of money.”

BMF’s chair Jim Freeman commented ‘ BMW are certainly aiming at the right market, not everyone wants a scooter in that urban user segment. As ever, an EV plus BMW signals: ‘not cheap…’ Looking at the current S/H car market, where EV models, particularly high-end, are being auctioned off after the first user’s 3 year lease deal, and proving virtually unsaleable, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with PTWs. In the car market, the average number of times Evs are going on the block is 4, double that of even ‘landmark’ ICE vehicles. Tales of ‘ridiculous’ bids being accepted abound in the trade press, apparently. There also seems to be a kickback from 1st generation EV buyers, who thought they’d try one and having done so are deciding that its far too much hassle, planning every journey around recharging points, that frequently don’t work properly. If you finance a 30-50K vehicle, you’re probably not someone who’s going to tolerate being ‘out of range’, at night, on some forecourt in the middle of nowhere, not even once.’

Written by Peter Henshaw

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