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To foster communication and a sense of family among BMW motorcycle enthusiasts

From gas to electricity By Bill Wiegand #180584

A YEAR AGO, BMW MOTORRAD GAVE US ALL A GLIMPSE OF THE future of motorcycling with their VISION NEXT 100 vehicle. BMW’s press release boldly stated, “The BMW Motorrad VISION NEXT

100 stands for the ultimate riding experience. Liberated from the need to wear a helmet and protective clothing, the rider is able to enjoy the forces. Imme- diately recognizable as a ‘genuine BMW’ and includes the black frame trian- gle, while lines and classic, boxer engine forms.” Love it or hate it, it’s the direction BMW Motorrad appears headed and though their zero-emission

destination is a long way down the road, there’s no denying it’s coming our way. A headline on the cover of a recent issue of The Economist screamed “Roadkill!” with the

accompanying story detailing the demise of the internal combustion engine. Frightening thoughts indeed to all of us riding C, F, G, K, R and S gas-burning BMWs. With improving battery technologies, falling electric costs and tightening regulations, the

shift from “fuel and pistons to batteries and electric motors” is coming faster than a coal-burn- ing, air-polluting runaway locomotive. Volvo recently became the first mainstream automaker to begin hammering a stake into the

heart of the internal combustion engine by announcing that beginning with the 2019 model year, all models it introduces will be either hybrids or powered solely by batteries. Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson recently said that his customers have been asking more and

more about electric cars and while Volvo’s strategy does include risks, a much bigger risk would be to stick with internal combustion engines. Yet another sign of the oncoming extinction of the ICE is that Tesla, despite producing sig-

nificantly fewer cars than both Ford and General Motors, recently surpassed the two automo- tive giants in terms of stock value. The money never lies. It’s unfortunate that none of us today will get to experience the VISION NEXT 100’s liberat-

ing feeling of not wearing helmets and protective clothing. Personally, I’m curious how the bike will deal with the elements, insects or an autonomous car speeding directly at you whose oper- ating system has just crashed. The path from Point A to Point B is always of great concern to the touring motorcyclist and

at our recent Rally in Salt Lake City, BMW Motorrad tipped their hand, showing off their first step toward the future: the C evolution electrically-powered maxi-scooter. The eye-catching, Ionic Silver Metallic and Electric Green (of course) scooter is loaded with

the latest technology and uses same batteries as the BMW i3 and a sexy new TFT instrument display. Propelled by a liquid-cooled electric motor producing 46 hp at 4,650 rpm, the scooter uses an air-cooled lithium-ion battery able to provide charge recuperation when braking and coasting. Dual disks in front and a single disk in the rear provide bring you back to a standstill with included ABS. All that for $13,750. The Achilles heel of the C evolution appears to be 99 miles per charge with a full charge tak-

ing nine hours using a common 110-volt household socket, though a fast charger will be available. Demoing any new bike is always fun and the C evolution did not disappoint. With a big smile

I rolled back into the parking lot thinking something was missing. Finally, it dawned on me. There wasn’t any noise! As an old gearhead I realized just how much I enjoy the exhaust notes of the Akrapovic on S 1000 XR. Now, if only BMW Motorrad offered a Dynamic Sound Inducer option, I wouldn’t have to

pull out my old baseball cards and steal clothespins like I did when I was riding pedal-powered two-wheelers. Ride Safe.

8 BMW OWNERS NEWS October 2017

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