While sales of new EVs in the car world are taking off, and there are new models arriving on an almost daily basis, not the same is true of electric motorcycles.
In NZ you have the high end LiveWire One and at the low end there are cheap Chinese electric scooters, but there’s not much in the middle ground. A 3kW retro design cafe racer moped out of Wellington called Street Dog costs $12k and there are a few funky looking Cake examples from Sweden. That’s about it until Energica arrives.
Meantime, there’s BMW Motorrad’s wild CE-04 electric scooter that has just touched down here. If you’re of the BMW iX persuasion for your dual tracker, this might well complement it for summer fun and just buzzing around town.
Wild, isn’t it? Like out of a Back to the Future movie, only this is real technology that actually works and is available. To recap, this fully electric maxiscooter isn’t just a machine for urban tooling. As we discovered when we took it for a quick blat while picking up the 2023 BMW G 310 R test machine, it can really get along. Acceleration in the Dynamic mode is exhilarating. And it is fast enough to be fully open road ready.
What is it then? An electric maxiscooter that’s roughly equivalent in power to a 400cc petrol powered machine, hence the name. Styling is resolutely out there with an extended wheelbase that’s optimised for stability and ride comfort, and yet it’s narrow enough to make lane-splitting possible. Like most scooters it has a great turning circle, making it a bit easier to manoeuvre in the garage, while it also features reverse should you get stuck on an incline.
Its electric motor is said to generate peak power of 31kW and 62Nm, and when you wind on the throttle it certainly doesn’t hang around, getting from stopped to 50km/h in 2.6sec. It is evidently restricted to 120km/h, which is obviously more than enough for motorway commutes. With an 8.9kWh battery, range is said to be around 130km. Helping with range is energy recuperation which is especially marked in the Road mode, to the point where brakes are only needed when coming to a complete stop.
A zero to 80 per cent fast charge evidently takes about an hour while using the standard home charger that comes with the bike a rezip takes around 4.4 hours.
Oliver Zipse, CEO of BMW AG, said “The BMW CE 04 is our new electric star for the city…combining an e-drive with emotion and motorcycling fun.” He added “all future new BMW Motorrad models for urban mobility will be pure electric.”
The battery pack that uses iX cell technology is carried low and is air cooled. The bike itself weighs around 220kg but with the weight low it feels like a regular maxiscooter to ride, only there’s no exhaust, no emissions. And there’s a side-opening storage compartment for a helmet or quick shop up at the grocery store. It’s also accessible without the rider dismounting.
Other special features include a TFT colour screen with integrated map navigation and full connectivity, belt final drive and several riding modes (Eco, Road and Rain).
Stability and traction control are both standard fit as are tyre pressure monitoring, ABS Pro with banking capability, and an adaptive LED headlight (turns into bends). There’s also a mobile phone charging compartment with a USB-C charge port.
Pricing for the CE 04 is $28,490 + ORCs.
There will likely be further CE additions in time, with the smaller CE 02 confirmed – expect it to be roughly half the price of the CE 04 – and a bigger CE 06 mooted.
Expect a full test of the CE-04 in the near future.