For more than 90 years, the 2-cylinder boxer engine has been a key element of the BMW Motorrad identity, in both technological and visual terms. But as the BMW Group consistently pursues electrification, the question arises as to what a BMW motorcycle might look like that is electrically powered and how would it reveal itself at first sight to be a BMW. One possible answer to these questions is provided by the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster, a highly emotional naked bike with electric drive.
In a motorcycle, the motor is the centerpiece – it is the fundamental element, providing the basis for the entire architecture. But electrical drive components have completely different requirements in terms of installation space. While in a conventional motorbike the size of the engine is mainly determined by its capacity, it is the battery that takes up most space in the case of an electrically powered vehicle.
The electric motor itself is relatively compact. Starting from this new basis, the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster is able to make this transfer – retaining the iconic appearance of a boxer while filling it with a new function. This is why the Vision Bike is instantly recognizable as a BMW motorcycle, revealing its electric nature on closer inspection.
Replacing what would previously have been the engine there is now a vertically fitted, longitudinally oriented battery. For cooling purposes, two side elements protrude with cooling ribs and integrated ventilators. As in the boxer engine of the BMW R 32 – the development of which was masterminded by Max Friz in 1923 – the cooling elements are placed in the air stream.
The cylinder-shaped electric motor is positioned underneath the battery and is directly connected to the universal shaft. The BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster thus demonstrates a clever drive architecture that visually echoes the history of BMW Motorrad while at the same time taking it a step further.
In the side view, the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster 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. Its further shaping integrates the seat in a modern form, thereby creating the fly-line of a sporty roadster. The frame structure is a key factor in defining the dynamic side view.
The large battery with its laterally protruding cooling systems is positioned at the centre of a frame milled from aluminum. The three-dimensional surface finish on the battery trim conveys a contemporary aesthetic appeal with its precise contours. The cooling elements echo the slight forward tilt of the battery silhouette, giving the side a dynamic momentum. When starting the electric motor, these cooling elements move out slightly, indicating that the bike is ready to go.
The BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster is a visionary symbol of the future of BMW Motorrad with alternative drive forms. It showcases the electrically powered driving experience in honest, authentic form, in particular creating a new, distinctive aesthetic appeal that is still firmly rooted in the finest BMW tradition.