EconomyFinancialBMW launches its first electric motorcycle in Mexico, is...

BMW launches its first electric motorcycle in Mexico, is it the end of gasoline?

BMW has decided to launch its first electric scooter in Mexico. This is the CE 04 model, which with a range of up to 130 kilometers per charge and a price of 344,600 pesos, seeks to earn a place in the urban segment.

The arrival of this model occurs almost eight years after the German manufacturer launched its first electric car in the Mexican market, the i3. Since then, BMW has focused on preparing electrified versions of its models and developing fully electric ones, while installing dozens of chargers in the country’s main cities.

During this time, the electrification of its motorcycle division, BMW Motorrad, proceeded at a slower pace. In part, due to the limitations of autonomy related to the weight of the batteries, but also because two-wheelers do not face as many emissions restrictions – in Mexico, for example, they do not step on checkpoints – as cars.

But the growth of a group of consumers seeking new technologies, in addition to the tightening of emission limits for two-wheelers in some cities – the European Commission aims that by 2035 no more combustion vehicles will be sold on the region–, have prompted the German manufacturer to accelerate the electrification of its range of motorcycles.

BMW unveiled a first concept, the C-Evolution, in 2011 and a year later the first production-ready prototypes made their appearance at the London Olympics. But the marketing of the model, which began in 2014, was limited to Europe.

At that time, the German manufacturer had just started the commercialization of electric cars in Mexico and had entered Formula E, the electric single-seater category of the FIA championship, which it saw as a laboratory that would allow technology transfer. for your street vehicles.

“We were collecting all the information possible to understand the dynamics of the use of electric vehicles,” says Michel Goudet, director of BMW Motorrad for Mexico and Latin American Import Markets.

After several years of intensive development, in 2017, BMW presented a new electric scooter concept, the CE 04, which unlike the C-Evolution was conceived as a global vehicle that would be ready for production in 2020. This year it will finally arrive in the United States. BMW dealers around the world, including Mexico.

Autonomy, engine and charging time

The minimalist design model is designed to transport two passengers in a completely flat elongated seat. It has a small side storage space that fits a helmet and incorporates a 10.25-inch color screen that integrates navigation maps for the first time and shows data on power, speed, autonomy, charging time and the playlist.

The company has explained in the past that the new scooter incorporates the technology and battery cells that it also uses in its new iX electric vehicle, an SUV that hit the Mexican market in 2021. However, the number of cells in the scooter is significantly less, due to the weight, with which the maximum autonomy per charge is up to 130 kilometers in laboratory tests, that is, in the most optimal conditions.

To charge this battery, the vehicle comes with a 2.3kW connector, which can be plugged into a home power outlet and allows the battery to be recharged to 100% in four hours. A 6.9 kW wall charger is available as an option for fast charging in one hour and 40 minutes.

The scooter has an electric motor with a power equivalent to 42 hp and reaches a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour.

With these characteristics, the CE 04 is a vehicle more well thought out for urban use. “It’s our new electric star for the city,” said the brand during the global presentation. Goudet announced that this model is the first of a new package of electric urban mobility solutions from BMW Motorrad.

Will BMW say goodbye to gasoline motorcycles?

The German manufacturer has prepared for a near future where only electric vehicles can be sold, this includes its motorcycle division.

“We are prepared for the ban on internal combustion vehicles. If a region, a city or a country decides to ban combustion, we will have an offer,” Zipse said at a conference in the German city of Nuertingen last year, as reported by Reuters.

For the BMW motorcycle division, electrification is a great challenge, says Goudet, especially because of the nature of the experience that a customer seeks to have when buying a large displacement two-wheeler. “We serve a consumer segment that makes long trips, for example, CDMX-La Patagonia, and today you could hardly do this journey on an electric motorcycle.”

Rather, the difficulty is that, although the industry has already achieved autonomy of over 600 kilometers per charge, the battery packs are very heavy and large, which makes it unfeasible to place them on a motorcycle. “We have a space limitation,” explains Goudet.

Making a trip of 9,000 kilometers with a range of 120 kilometers per charge would mean making dozens of stops to recharge and not all markets have infrastructure available. “The essence of touring motorcycles is knowing that you have a vehicle that you can go anywhere you want,” explains Goudet.

Due to this, the electrification for Motorrad will be partial, starting with those models focused on urban mobility. “All future new BMW Motorrad models for urban mobility will be purely electric,” Zipse said months ago.

“Gasoline models with a focus on long trips are going to stick around longer, at least as manufacturers find a way to have much smaller longer-range batteries,” Goudet now confirms.

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