BMW introduced a new generation of scooters when it debuted the C650GT and C600 Sport (since renamed the C650 Sport) back in 2012. Today, BMW’s “urban mobility” line has grown to include the C400X, C400GT and the electric C Evolution. What gets forgotten, sometimes, is that BMW used to have another scooter introduced in 2000 called the C1.
We’ll forgive you if you don’t remember the C1, as it only lasted a couple of years before being discontinued in 2002, and never made it to the United States. A big reason, perhaps, was its oddball design, with the windshield extending up into a curved roof. The seat had a back and a headrest and, if that wasn’t car-like enough, seatbelts. The C1 was an attempt to woo car owners as, in some European markets, the roof and seat belt meant you were allowed to ride it without a helmet. That’s likely another reason the C1 never made it to the US.
While consumers may have forgotten the C1, BMW hasn’t, as a newly published patent reviews a similar design for the C Evolution. The patent, originally filed in Germany by BMW in November 2017, is for a modular design for the C Evolution chassis to be paired with a C1-styled roof, seat and rear storage area. The patent describes how the modular design could allow BMW to easily produce different versions of the scooter with or without roof unit. While the patent drawings depict the C Evolution, the patent’s idea can also be implemented on a scooter with an internal combustion engine.
Besides making it easier to produce, the modular design could also make it easier to repair either component of the scooter. The design could also be retrofitted to older models, so if BMW ever produce this passenger cell, current owners will have the option. Thinking even broader, the modular concept could make it possible for BMW to produce various other scooter designs by simply swapping out either section.
What’s interesting about the patent is that it also calls back to BMW’s first example of an electric scooter, the C1-E concept introduced in 2009. The concept, made seven years after the C1 was discontinued, applied the original scooter’s design with an electric powertrain produced by now-defunct brand Vectrix.
Honestly, we don’t think it’s likely BMW will ever produce this modular roof option for the C Evolution or any of its other scooters. There’s a reason the idea didn’t take off the first time, and consumer tastes haven’t changed that much. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if BMW presents a concept as a study in different ways to improve rider safety.