The future of individual mobility in increasingly crowded metropolitan areas is a hotly debated issue, with titanic social and economic considerations at play. BMW sees the electric scooter as urban transportation, though that’s not a particularly controversial solution. Regardless, BMW Motorrad is serious about scooter design—its first electric scooter debuted in 2013—with a keen eye toward technological solutions. With that, we have the BMW Definition CE 04 concept scooter, a production-ready evolution of the BMW Motorrad Concept Link from 2017.
“A scooter is not a fun bike, which is taken for a ride in the mountains in fine weather,” explains Head of Vehicle Design BMW Motorrad Alexander Buckan, “but a practical everyday vehicle for driving from home to the office or meeting friends in the evening—simply a vehicle for every day in the city. That’s why we dealt intensively with the design of the drive and energy storage system in order to make it meet the needs of the actual user.
“The urban target group mainly rides short distances of approximately 12 kilometers per day,” Buckan continues. “Long-distance comfort is, therefore, less important than variable ergonomics and easy accessibility. In this way, we were able to create a floating-seat bench-seat, which allows you to glide comfortably onto the vehicle even from behind. It also offers improved ergonomics for single riders, regardless of leg length and height.”
“We have managed to transfer many innovative elements and details of the concept into the series,” Buckan says. “The technical realities of electric drive, such as the flat energy packs in the underfloor and the compact drive train, allow us to create a highly distinctive design which defines a new, urban aesthetic, and which differentiates itself clearly from conventional styling. A design that follows the basic needs for simple functionality, clear aesthetics, and the digital reality today’s users live in. The new architecture has led to a visual revolution and has produced many new design themes. Maybe it will polarize, but it will definitely stand out.”
The technological interface between the rider and the BMW Definition CE 04 is typified by the 10.25-inch TFT display—a new development from Bosch. It has a split-screen capability and is controlled by the mySPIN app on the user’s smartphone. This gives the rider the ability to monitor content on his smartphone on the display, along with the readouts required to operate the scooter.
BMW takes it one step further with clothing designed to match the Definition CE 04, while also providing innovative technical capabilities. For example, the matching parka’s inside pocket has an inductive charging field to keep the battery in a smartphone topped off. Lighting is integrated into the hood and back of the parka, which is waterproof and breathable, to make sure you can be seen in the chaos of city traffic. Switches in the sleeves allow the rider to switch the color of the jacket lighting to match either a mood or a need.
“We deliberately wanted to create a fashionable look that is urban yet highly functional rather than classic motorcycle clothing,” Head of Rider Equipment Design at BMW Motorrad Julia Lein tells us. “We want to develop products with which you can get off the vehicle and go about your everyday business hassle-free. At the same time, the rider equipment offers the protection you are used to from BMW Motorrad and even becomes part of the vehicle communication to the outside world.”
For storing your matching BMW helmet, the cargo compartment can be accessed from the side of the Definition CE 04—not just from under the seat, as is tradition with scooters. As you would expect, the headlights are LEDs, though in a distinctive double-U shape. A pair of C-shaped rear running lights will identify the CE 04 to those behind the scooter.
Expect a production version of the BMW Definition CE 04 concept scooter to appear on dealer showroom floors by 2022 or 2023.