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BMW Vision DC Roadster – BMWs electric era

It’s a challenge that every one of the world’s longstanding bike firms is currently working to address – how do you take styling themes and brand identities developed around petrol-powered motorcycles and adapt them to fit the completely new requirements of electric power? This bike – the Vision DC Roadster – is BMW’s way to address the problem.
Although the Vision DC Roadster is much more of a styling exercise than a genuine preview of a production model, it gives an insight into how BMW might take styling cues developed around its brand-defining boxer engine into an electric-powered future.
Edgar Heinrich, BMW Motorrad’s head of design, explained: “The boxer engine is the heart of BMW Motorrad – an absolute stalwart of its character. But BMW Motorrad stands for visionary zero-emissions vehicle concepts, too. In view of this, one question that arises is: what would happen if we were to replace the boxer engine with an electric motor and the required battery? The Vision Bike shows how we’re able to retain the identity and iconic appearance of BMW Motorrad in distinctive form while at the same time presenting an exciting new type of riding pleasure.
“After all: anyone who’s ever tried it out in practice knows very well that riding on two wheels is just as exciting when it’s electrically powered! The high level of torque right at set-off makes for breath-taking acceleration. This almost brutal power delivery creates a whole new experience of dynamic performance. And the BMW Motorrad Vision DC Roadster puts a face to this experience.”
The engine is the centrepiece for any traditional motorcycle’s styling. It’s a big lump of metal that can’t be easily altered or adapted, so the bike’s styling has to be developed around it. On an electric bike, the motor is relatively small and easy to hide, but there’s a huge, bulky battery to incorporate into the design.
Fortunately, battery packs can be made in many shapes, so BMW has sculpted the Vision DC Roadster’s battery to fit the area normally reserved for a boxer twin on a traditional bike bearing the firm’s badge. Like an engine, the battery pack needs cooling, so it’s covered in fins and gains two external coolers – each with a fan. With one cooler bolted to each side of the bike, the effect is to replicate the proportions of a boxer-powered BMW. On the concept bike, these side-mounted coolers extend outwards when the bike is turned on.
Check out the upcoming issue of AMCN for more details.
Words Ben Purvis