Right now, the IAA Mobility show is happening in Germany and as part of the event, BMW announced no less than 5 all-electric concept vehicles. One of the more interesting is of the two-wheel variety.
The BMW i Vision AMBY is an eBike concept that features an electric drive system that adapts to three speed ratings to handle different types of roads. Ride on cycle tracks at up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph), or up to 45 km/h (28 mph) on city-centre roads, while the fastest mode is a serious 60 km/h (37 mph) which would be used on multi-lane roads and outside urban areas.
Those speeds are impressive from a technology angle, but certainly are a lot faster than eBikes are currently permitted to be in Australia. This introduces questions about insurance and corresponding licences, being closer to a motorbike than a pushbike, but that said, one of BMW’s other concepts is the BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY that actually is an all-electric motorbike.
The idea here is that the eBike ride modes would be available to the rider via in the smartphone app, linked with the “AMBY” Vision Vehicle. While it’s possible to use manual mode selection, the idea BMW are working on, is that locations and road types are automatically recognised, then apply the change to the top speed.
I’m often critical of concept vehicles, but there is actually a viable reason for this idea being raised now. That is to prompt the consideration of legal frameworks for a vehicle of this kind with a modular speed concept.
The BMW Group is therefore showing its keenness to remain part of the mobility conversation in cities, even if in the years ahead those cities offer motor cars an increasingly small space in which to function.
Unlike most eBikes that integrate the battery into the frame, the battery here is positioned in the centre of the frame with quite unique styling, so if this thing does end up shipping, it’ll certainly draw attention and invoke questions about what it is.
The size of the battery is a really important attribute here, it’s a massive 2,000 Wh (or 2kW). This is as much as 4x the average eBike’s capacity and BMW expect it to enable a range of up to 300 km (186 miles). Even that change alone, changes the way we think about using bikes. That has the potential to power your daily commute for a month, but of course a battery that size wouldn’t come cheap, so being a concept, it’s easy to imagine a massive battery, but you’d almost need a commercial activity (like deliveries) to help pay for it.
Standard charging would take a very long time with a battery that large, so BMW expect fast-charging support, technology, enabling recharges in only three hours.
The drive unit is positioned close to the pedals and only provides assistance when the pedals are being turned. Power is transferred by low-maintenance toothed belt, and the transmission is integrated into the drive system.
Because of it’s designed diversity of uses, BMW has opted for 27.5″ wheels with large and wide tyres in order to ensure exceptional comfort and safety even at higher speeds. There is also 120 mm of suspension travel designed into the front and rear to enable all applications.
The handlebars certainly look unique, designed with the stem as part of the frame. A slim, horizontal LED light strip is integrated into the wide handlebars and underscores the cutting-edge, technical look of this frame section. The vertical LED rear light is integrated into the seat post. To get the stats about your bike’s battery, current speed and riding, there’s an e-Ink display on offer.
- Battery: 2,000 Wh
- Charging time: three hours (fast charging)
- Vmod1: up to 25 km/h / 15.5 mph
- Vmod2: up to 45 km/h / 28 mph
- Vmodmax: up to 60 km/h / 37 mph
- Range: 300+ km (up to 25 km/h / 15.5 mph Vmax), 180 km (up to 45 km/h), 75 km (up to 60 km/h).
- Wheelbase: 1160mm (frame size M/ L)
- Suspension travel: 120 mm front & rear
- Weight: approx. 30 kg