BMW C1-E Electric Scooter
BMW C1. Photos and text courtesy
BMW Revives the C1-E Concept
for Urban Travel
Edited by webBikeWorld.com
1990's BMW C1 Now With Electric Motor Proposed
as Solution for Urban Travel
BMW fans will remember the BMW C1 from the 1990's; an interesting
and unique scooter with a cover that did not require a helmet
for the rider.
About 10,000 C1's were manufactured by BMW from 1992 to 2002
and sold in Europe. Some European countries allowed owners to
ride the C1 without a helmet, but the UK government would not
allow this, which hurt C1 sales in what was expected to be its
The C1 was ahead of its time, but it's
good to see that BMW has not given up on the concept. A press
release from BMW dated October 6, 2009, indicates that the idea
is still alive and well, and it may be an answer for modern
intra-city transportation. An edited version of the press release
This is what a safe, environment-friendly and highly practical
single track vehicle for city traffic could look like in the
BMW Motorrad developed the C1-E study as a contribution to
the European safety project
study unit is based on the concept of the BMW C1; it is characterized
by a very high level of active and passive safety and is driven
by an electric motor.
an acronym for "European Safer Urban Motorcycling".
It is a cooperation project between major urban European motorcycling
centers and motorcycle manufacturers. The cities currently involved
in the project include Paris, Rome, Barcelona and London and
the manufacturers are BMW and Piaggio.
The advantage of two-wheeled transportation is that it offers
a great opportunity for improving the flow of traffic in urban
locations. Moreover, it is environmentally friendly and lends
itself to individualization.
However, the vast majority of accidents occur in urban traffic,
in areas where 80 percent of the population live. The idea behind
eSum is to look into ways of countering this trend. The joint
goal is the identification, development, and practical demonstration
of measures which are able to guarantee safe motorcycle and
motor-scooter transport in the inner-city traffic of the future.
The BMW C1-E provides exemplary protection for its rider.
This is ensured by the safety cell with the conspicuous roll-over
bar which dynamically spans the rider seat in combination with
the energy-absorbing impact element at the nose end. A further
special point is that the C1-E rider wears a seat belt, which
is highlighted by red belts and belt buckles in this concept
Visually, the concept vehicle expresses brand typical sheer
driving pleasure and clearly distinguishes itself from typical
Its lines are dynamically stretched and flow horizontally
with a low visual centre of gravity. The fairing with its windscreen,
the luggage space behind the rider and the side stand for effortless
parking ensure high suitability for everyday riding combined
with a high degree of wind and weather protection.
The electric motor employed in the study has been designed
for city use and is based on components by the Vectrix scooter
company (Editor's Note: Vectrix filed for bankruptcy in September
The motor obtains its power from a lithium-ion battery and
thus possesses sufficient power for mastering most inner-city
traffic riding with ease. Alternatively, the vehicle could also
be equipped with an efficient, low-emissions internal combustion
The safety features of the C1-E have been taken from the
former BMW C1 and further enhanced. BMW's avant-garde two-wheeler
is regarded as a milestone in safety on two wheels. It is the
only motorized single-track vehicle to be exempt from mandatory
helmet wearing in almost all European countries.
This BMW Motorrad study is likely to remain the only model
of its kind. Series production is currently not planned; nevertheless,
findings from the project will find their way into other future
developments in the field of single-track vehicles.
One of BMW Motorrad's major concerns over the last twenty
years has been the improvement of motorcycle safety. This was
amply demonstrated by the consistent strategy which has led
to the Motorrad ABS and continued with its long-term ongoing
development. Only a few weeks ago, on August 31, the 1,000,000th
BMW motorcycle with Integral ABS, a BMW K 1300 R, left the production
line in Berlin-Spandau.
Since 2005, a series of further active safety features have
been developed to enhance the safety BMW motorcycles still further:
RDC Tire Pressure Control, ASC Anti-Slip Control, the new Race
ABS and the DTC Traction Control incorporated in the new BMW
S 1000 RR, not to mention the innovative range of BMW Motorrad
Over and above this, BMW Motorrad is also conducting research
into forward-looking rider assistance systems designed to increased
road safety, as part of BMW's ConnectedRide project. ConnectedRide
provides vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology designed
to help reduce vehicle accidents.
Features being looked at include cross-traffic and traffic-light
assistance as well as a warning system for impending poor weather,
road obstacles, an approaching emergency vehicle, or sudden
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From "M.A.H." (06/2011): "it
is with great interest that I read this article, bearing on
mind the often high quality of all, of your editorials. I as
a rider (RT 1200 SE) driver (123 D) and follower of BMW engineering,
innovative and creative designs; would truly appreciate you
could pass comments of encouragement to BMW Motorrad, in regards
to C1 and E-C1 projects, I would love to have the opportunity
to have one or even two of this very smart scooters, ideally
with larger capacity power plants and in electric form as well."
Editor's Note: Not sure if the C1-E will ever
reach production, but BMW has stated that they will manufacture
a version of the Concept
C Scooter, which will be for sale to the public.