Electric motorcycles aren't new, but they've been gaining some serious steam as companies like finally pick up the pace and accept 21st-century technologies into their products. BMW Motorrad's motorcycles have a very important history with a specific combustion engine, but because the future doesn't wait for anyone, BMW gave its bread-and-butter setup a heapin' helpin' of electrification.
BMW Motorrad, the automaker's motorcycle division, unveiled the Vision DC Roadster concept on Tuesday. The manufacturer did away with the Beemer's staple flat-two "boxer" gas engine and replaced it with -- I'll pause so you can grab your pearls for later clutching -- an electric motor and battery.
Yet the company didn't want to eliminate that link to the past in its entirety. Given the small nature of the electric motor, and the relatively not-small nature of the batteries required for decent range, BMW Motorrad shuffled things up a bit. The battery is now where the boxer engine used to be, and the OEM did the best it could to arrange things so that they still bore a passing resemblance to an internal combustion engine. The cooling elements are exposed and placed in the air stream to keep temperatures manageable, and when the bike starts up, the cooling elements move outward. Instead of using a chain to drive the rear wheel, it uses a universal shaft.
Since there's no gas engine, that means there's no need for a gas tank, which means there's more space to get expressive with the design. The whole thing looks like something out of a dystopian anime, sharp and aggressive with a healthy dose of cool. The bike's electric drive is surrounded by a milled aluminum frame and some minimalist fairings. Further adding to the sci-fi theme is a set of fluorescent elements on the sides of the tires that can create designs while the bike is in motion.
Heck, even the rider's gear is plucked from some 23rd-century megalopolis. In addition to looking more like street wear than traditional armor, the suit has built-in magnets, to which a rucksack can be attached. Whenever the rider needs something from the bag, just pull and detach the magnets. Just don't stand too close to any old-school CRT televisions.
The BMW Motorrad Vision DC gives us a pretty interesting look at the future of BMW's motorcycle division. With an emphasis on applying new technologies without losing sight of the design that made the old one so cool to start, this new concept looks right at home alongside BMW's other new concept, the.