Says BMW, "This is what a safe, environment-friendly and highly practical single track vehicle for city traffic could look like in the future." Well then, let's dissect that statement and see how BMW sought to accomplish these seemingly contradictory goals.
First, safety. Between 2000 and 2003, BMW offered a scooter in Europe called the C1. Though a marketplace failure, that machine may still be the safest two-wheeler ever offered. Featuring a fully-enclosed cabin with integrated rollover protection, a front-end impact zone, a rider seat belt and a low center of gravity, the C1-E has safety baked right in from the start. To that package, BMW adds electronic aids that include integral ABS, Tire Pressure Control, Anti-Slip Control and Traction Control. So... safety? Check.
Environmentally-friendly? The scooter itself emits nothing – BMW borrowed the electric motor and control systems from electric scooter manufacturer Vectrix (which recently filed for bankruptcy). Vectrix's battery pack, though, has been swapped out with a high-tech lithium ion unit for greater energy storage. Alternatively, BMW could equip the same basic platform with any electric motor or small internal combustion engine of its choice.
Now, how about practicality? First, that enclosed rider cockpit means the C1-E could be used in nearly any kind of weather. Further, the bike features a large luggage compartment behind the rider. As far as single-track vehicles go, this one's pretty darn practical. As much as we'd like to see the C1-E go into production, that's not currently in the cards. BMW built this concept as its contribution to the European eSUM safety project. Want to know more? Check out the gallery below and hit the jump for the press release.