According to BMW, this is what a safe, environmentally friendly and practical vehicle for city traffic could look like in the future. BMW Motorrad developed the C1-E study as a contribution to the European safety project eSUM based on the BMW C1 scooter with high levels of active and passive safety and driven by an electric motor.
The C1-E provides exemplary protection for the rider. This is ensured by the safety cell with the conspicuous roll-over bar which spans the seat in combination with the energy-absorbing element in the nose. Of further interest is that the C1-E rider wears a seat-belt, highlighted by red belts for this concept.
The electric motor has been designed for city use and is based on components from Vectrix. The motor obtains its power from a lithium-ion battery and possesses sufficient power for most inner-city traffic. Alternatively, the vehicle could also be equipped with an efficient, low-emissions combustion engine.
The safety features of the C1-E have been enhanced over the former BMW C1. The avant-garde two-wheeler was a milestone in terms of safety b ut was let down by its cost and because it was relatively top-heavy. As such, it is the only motorized two-wheeler to be exempt from mandatory helmet wearing in some European countries.
This BMW Motorrad study is likely to remain the only model of its kind. Series production is not currently planned. Nevertheless, findings from the project will find their way into future vehicles.
eSUM stands for European Safer Urban Motorcycling. It is a cooperative project between major European motorcycling centers and manufacturers. The cities involved in the project include Paris, Rome, Barcelona and London, as well as BMW and Piaggio.
The advantage of two-wheeled transport is it offers a great opportunity for improving urban traffic flow. Moreover, it is environmentally friendly and lends itself to individualization. However, the vast majority of accidents occur in urban traffic, in areas where 80% of the population live. So the idea behind eSum is to look into ways of reversing this trend. The goal is to identify and develop measures able to guarantee safe motorcycle and scooter transport in the inner-cities.
One of BMW Motorrad's major concerns over the last 20 years has been the improvement of motorcycle safety. This was demonstrated by introduction and ongoing development of ABS. Only a few weeks ago, the one millionth BMW motorcycle with Integral ABS, a BMW K 1300 R, left the production line in Berlin-Spandau.
Since 2005, a series of active safety features have been developed to enhance safety further: RDC Tyre Pressure Control, ASC Anti-Slip Control, the new Race ABS and the DTC Traction Control incorporated in the BMW S1000RR, not to mention the range of BMW Motorrad rider equipment.
Over and above this, BMW Motorrad is also conducting research into forward-looking rider assistance systems designed to increased road safety, as part of the ConnectedRide project. Features being looked at include cross-traffic and traffic-light assistance as well as a warning system for impending poor weather, road obstacles, an approaching emergency vehicle, or sudden braking maneuvers.