BMW revealed a new electric scooter concept called the Definition CE 04. Debuting at #NEXTGen 2020, a BMW event showcasing the company’s ideas on the future of mobility, the Definition CE 04 offers a blend of electric drive and digital communication technologies. If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because BMW introduced a similar concept in 2017 called the Concept Link.
So, what’s the difference? The CE 04 is close to being ready for production. BMW says the Definition CE 04 is the “near-series” version of the Concept Link, and all indications suggest BMW is intent on eventually putting it into production.
The design of the Definition CE 04 stays fairly close to the original Concept Link, with a low and elongated body and layered body panels. The long, frame is to accommodate the flat shapes of the energy packs stored in the underfloor. The electric motor sits behind these batteries, further lengthening the wheelbase. This helps to keep the center of gravity low for better handling while also creating more space for underseat storage.
“We have managed to transfer many innovative elements and details of the concept into the series. 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,” says Alexander Buckan, Head of Vehicle Design BMW Motorrad. 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 polarise, but it will definitely stand out.”
Viewed from the side, the front end adopts a familiar maxi-scooter silhouette, like the C Evolution, the electric scooter BMW previously produced. Look at it closer and you’ll notice the layered bodywork angled back and away from the front wheel. The fairing then concaves behind the BMW roundel logo creating a sense of depth. BMW doesn’t say anything about the CE 04’s aerodynamics, but we wonder how the fairing design affects wind buffeting around the rider.
BMW also hasn’t offered specific specs about the battery or motor (it’s not THAT close to production yet), but Ralf Rodepeter, BMW Motorrad’s head of marketing and product management, says the range will be about 120-130 km (75-80 miles), enough for most urban commuters.
“A scooter is not a ‘fun bike’ which is taken for ride in the mountains in fine weather, 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,” says Buckan. “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 approx. 12 km per day. Long-distance comfort is therefore less important than variable ergonomics and easy accessibility.”
The Definition CE 04 makes use of the new 10.25-inch TFT display, a Bosch-designed screen that debuted on the 2021 BMW R1250RT. The long screen dimensions allow for a split screen display, allowing for map navigation or smartphone connectivity at the same time as vehicle information like the speedometer or battery level. So far, BMW is the only manufacturer to make use of the 10.25″ screen, but we expect others will adopt it on future models.
Though the Definition CE 04 still looks very much like a concept, serial production may begin sooner than one might expect. Rodepeter says it could arrive in showrooms in a matter of months.
When BMW does eventually put this scooter into production, expect it to lose the “Definition” part of the name and go by just CE 04. The “C” is the model code BMW gives its scooters, and the “E” stands for electric and the “04” indicates the size of the bike. Rodepeter says there is room in the future for larger models beyond four and smaller ones below.
On a related note, BMW filed a trademark application in Germany for “CE 04” in May, along with another filing for “CE 02”, indicating a smaller model is already being planned. BMW also filed a number of trademark applications for the names DC 01 through DC 09, with the name hinting at another electric concept, the DC Roadster motorcycle.
The concept bike was mentioned briefly in the video embedded above, with Edgar Heinrich, BMW Motorrad’s head of design, not so subtly interjecting to say how much he loved the DC Roadster with a large grin on his face. I don’t know if Heinrich plays poker, but that looked like a tell to me. Heinrich later says they are “working on it,” so expect more to come about a line of electric DC motorcycles to come at some point.
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