The ‘Big 4’ first united for a swappable electric-battery powertrain, then merged (with additional support from Toyota and Kawasaki Heavy Industries) into the hydrogen-loving ‘HySe’, so bike brands around the world Take sides and show them what they want. , their own predictions about it, that will power our motorcycles (and thus our carbon-neutral future).

BMW Motorrad in particular is a big investor in electrical energy, are there other aspects that increase the brand’s potential?

Thanks to MCN’s recent interview with his BMW Motorrad head of motorcycle division, we have the answer.

BMW’s 2019 Vision DC Roadster concept. Media sourced from Top Gear.

“[We are certainly planning for electric mobility], but we are also developing the ICE story further,” confirms Dr. Markus Schramm in the interview.

“I think we will see serious e-motorbikes first before e-fuels.”

“I’m convinced – and we are planning this – that in the near future, we will launch the first proper [electric] bike,” continues the doctor.

“We start now in urban areas, so this year, we will see another model for the urban area.”

First ‘proper’ bike? What does Schramm mean?

BMW’s 2019 Vision DC Roadster concept. Media sourced from Electrek.

Apparently, BMW’s working on an electric roadster, with further plans for synthetic e-fuel alternatives – but first, they have a little problem to solve:

How to replace the loss of personality afforded by an ICE engine

“The cool bikes or the iconic bikes are defined by the engine – like a V-twin, inline-four, flat boxer engine, or Ducati’s L-twin,” explains BMW’s Head of Design, Edgar Heinrich. 

“If you abolish all the engines and you put in just a big black box [the electric motor], and all the brands have the same black box, what is the ‘like’ icon of the bike?”

BMW’s 2019 Vision DC Roadster concept. Media sourced from Top Gear.

Previously, BMW experimented with mimicking a gas-powered engine with the insertion of side-mounted coolers alongside electric power – a prototype later revealed to be the brand’s 2019 Vision DC Roadster.

“We didn’t try to fake a boxer engine, but literally put the hot components – the cooler the radiators – into the air stream,” contributes Heinrich.

“The abolition of the engine is a big loss in the perception of motorbikes, but this is something we have to deal with.”

What about the fate of ICE power?

A view of BMW’s electric scooter, the CE 04. Media sourced from Electrek.

Rest assured, Heinrich believes gas-powered machines aren’t going anywhere. 

“In the long-term, of around 30 years, I think there will be a significant share above 50% that’s electric mobility. But, at the same time, I’m convinced that combustion engines will survive.”

This interview follows on the heels of an early Q1 (2022) release showing BMW Motorrad’s goals for electrification (via RideApart): 

Double electrified vehicle sales in 2022 (compared to 2021)

Sell 2,000,000 electrified vehicles by 2023

Sell 2,000,000 fully-electric vehicles by 2025.

Shift half of all BMW Group sales to fully-electric vehicles by 2030.

Deliver 10,000,000 fully-electric vehicles to customers over the next decade

A view of BMW’s electric scooter, the CE 04. Media sourced from Cycle World.

With such a heavy lean on electric power and further tendrils extended to synthetic options, we look forward to seeing how the Bavarians continue their trudge toward the next decade of transition.

What do you think the Powersports industry will look like in 30 years?