BMW hints at the future of electric motorcycles with the Vision DC Roadster
Here is BMW’s new electric motorcycle concept
Electric motors are supposed to be the successor to the internal combustion engine and manufacturers are making the transition towards the electric mobility on both two and four wheels. BMW Motorrad, largely known for its evocative motorcycles is also working on an electric future for itself and is offering a glimpse of the future with its new Vision DC Roadster concept. BMW calls the ‘electrical awakening’ of the twin-cylinder Boxer engine that has powered the bike maker’s motorcycles for over 90 years. The BMW Vision DC Roadster is only a concept for now but could just preview a future Rnine T model with an electric drive.
the BMW motorrad vision DC roadster features a clever drive architecture that visually echoes the history of BMW motorrad. replacing the engine is a vertically fitted, longitudinally oriented battery, positioned at the centre of a frame milled from aluminium. as in the boxer engine of the BMW R 32, two cooling elements are located in the air stream with cooling ribs and integrated ventilators. when starting the electric motor, these cooling elements move out slightly, indicating that the bike is ready to go.
the side profile presents a highly dynamic gesture with clear front-wheel orientation. the low front section and the short, high rear convey a sense of agility. instead of the fuel tank, a flat, finely- wrought tubular structure spans the vehicle corpus. the seat boasts a modern form, creating the flyline of a sporty roadster. elements such as the seat and the cooling system appear to hover around the battery.
lengthwise milled grooves create a fascinating visual effect on the frame, reducing the perceived volume and highlighting the bike’s longitudinal dynamics. this impression is further underscored by means of openings in the milled aluminium frame and the tubular frame structure arranged above it. the suggested triangular frame echoes a typical feature of earlier BMW motorcycle models, even recapturing its white lines, which in this instance fluoresce in the dark.
the overall appearance of the BMW motorrad vision DC roadster is overridingly dark, except for the mechanical elements such as the exposed universal shaft and the duolever fork that add striking accentuations. the minimalist design of the front and rear lights is an iconic implementation of the hallmark BMW motorrad lighting, reflecting maximum reduction in modern style.
the headlamp shows the led daytime riding light in a dynamic, flat U shape, while two compact led lenses on each side provide the low and high beam. this creates a hallmark lighting design that makes the concept vehicle instantly recognisable as a BMW motorcycle – both during the day and at night. the rear light consists of two c-shaped led elements which are integrated in the aluminium rear carrier in minimalist, technically high-quality form.
on the flanks of the tires exclusively made by metzeler for the vision bike, five fluorescent elements, each about the size of a postage stamp, are integrated. they combine innovative design with safety aspects: standing and moving, the lighting elements create an exciting graphic effect. in darkness, they increase the visibility from the side, thus providing more security. they also convey dynamics when in motion.
the boxer engine is the heart of BMW motorrad – an absolute stalwart of its character. but BMW motorrad stands for visionary zero-emissions vehicle concepts, too,’ explains edgar heinrich, head of design BMW motorrad.
‘in view of this, one question that arises is: what would happen if we were to replace the boxer engine with an electric motor and the required battery? the vision bike shows how we’re able to retain the identity and iconic appearance of BMW motorrad in distinctive form while at the same time presenting an exciting new type of riding pleasure.’
‘after all: anyone who’s ever tried it out in practice knows very well that riding on two wheels is just as exciting when its electrically powered! the high level of torque right at set-off makes for breath-taking acceleration. this almost brutal power delivery creates a whole new experience of dynamic performance. and the BMW motorrad vision dc roadster puts a face to this experience.’