At an event showcasing its electric vehicle initiatives, BMW revealed a new electric motorcycle concept called the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster. The new concept, much like the Vision Next 100 concept from 2016, is an interpretation of what an electric motorcycle would look like while keeping BMW’s traditional Boxer configuration.
As BMW explains, gas-powered motorcycles are designed with the engine as its centerpiece, with the Boxer-engined R models’ unmistakable outward-pointing cylinders as a prime example. With an electric motorcycle however, the motor is relatively smaller, with the much larger and heavier batteries becoming a more important part of the design.
For the Vision DC Roadster Concept, BMW designed a vertically-fitted longitudinally-oriented battery as the central core of the motorcycle. Instead of opposed engine cylinders, the concept has two cooling elements jutting out into the airstream. The motor itself is a compact cylinder-shaped module placed below the battery and directly connected to the drive shaft. Just how much this added cooling aids in performance was not explained, but we can at least appreciate the aesthetic callback to BMW’s iconic Boxers.
The batteries are housed in an aluminum frame whose entire exterior is covered in milled grooves resembling the air cooling fins on BMW’s boxers.
Above this structure is a flat, tubular structure that runs from just behind the handlebar to the tail. This serves as the support for the seat and tail while also defining the Roadster concept’s silhouette. By floating above the frame, this subframe creates an illusion of lightness.
In another nod to BMW tradition, the concept uses a Duolever front suspension. Just above the wheel sits a U-shaped LED headlight with integrated daytime running light. A pair of LED taillights are compactly fitted to the minimalist tail. The wheels are shod in specially designed tires from Metzeler with five postage stamp-sized fluorescent elements on the sidewalls. When the wheels spin, it creates a dynamic lighting effect while also improving the bike’s visibility from the side.
Like the Vision Next 100, we don’t expect the Vision DC Roadster to be anything more than a design exercise. BMW is investing heavily in electric technology for its automotive business, but you’d have to figure there will be an electric motorcycle at some point.