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BMW Making Massive Investment to Develop Independent Expertise in Electric Drivetrains (with videos)

The following press release discusses a 200 million Euro investment by BMW in a new “Battery cell Competence Centre” located in Munich. Intended to advance battery cell technology as part of developing its fifth generation electric drivetrains for release in 2021, the facility is scheduled to open in early 2019.

BMW says its future electric drivetrains will be smaller, lighter and offer dramatic increases in range (up to 700 killometers – equal to 434 miles).

The motorcycle division of BMW is already offering electric models, including the C Evolution scooter (available in the U.S. at a price starting at $13,750 — see photo below). Here is the press release, followed by two related videos by BMW:

Munich. The BMW Group continues to focus on the implementation of its electro-mobility strategy, with the company concentrating all its technological expertise relating to battery cells at a new competence centre. Klaus Fröhlich, member of the BMW AG Board of Management, responsible for Research and Development, and Oliver Zipse, member of the BMW AG Board of Management, responsible for Production, were joined by Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs Ilse Aigner for the symbolic ground-breaking of the BMW Group Battery Cell Competence Centre in Munich today. This interdisciplinary competence centre aims to advance battery cell technology and introduce it into production processes. The company will invest a total of 200 million euros in the location over the next four years, creating 200 jobs. The centre will open in early 2019.

Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Klaus Fröhlich said: “We will be concentrating all our in-house expertise along the battery-cell value chain at our new high-tech competence centre. International experts working in the new development labs and facilities will conduct important research to refine cell chemistry and cell design. We will focus on further improvements in battery performance, lifespan, safety, charging and also costs. We will set the benchmark for the industry.”

Future BMW electric drivetrains will be comparatively smaller, lighter and more efficient.

Oliver Zipse added: “By producing battery-cell prototypes, we can analyse and fully understand the cell’s value-creation processes. With this build-to-print expertise, we can enable potential suppliers to produce cells to our specifications. The knowledge we gain is very important to us, regardless of whether we produce the battery cells ourselves, or not.”

Ilse Aigner said: “With its competence centre for battery cell technology, BMW is making another major investment in Bavaria. This shows a clear commitment to our state as an industrial, high-tech manufacturing location. Battery cells are a key technology on the road to emission-free mobility. Bavaria is at the forefront of electromobility – a position we will continue to expand to secure long-term growth, prosperity and jobs.”

The BMW Group’s Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT makes electromobility, digitalisation and autonomous driving clear technological focus points, strengthening Germany’s position as an innovation driver for mobility and the future technologies. As the leading supplier of premium mobility, the BMW Group concentrates on customer needs and wishes, playing a decisive role in advancing the ACES topics (Autonomous, Connected, Electrified and Services).

Competence Centre for Battery Cells provides important competitive edge

The battery cell is the heart of the battery. It determines performance, energy content, charging capabilities and lifespan, thereby making a significant contribution to the performance of an electrified vehicle.

In the labs, research and prototyping facilities, which will make up the battery cell competence centre, specialist departments will analyse cell design and cell technology. They will also create prototypes of future battery cells, focusing on the chemical composition of the cells, use of different materials, how the cell behaves in critical or extremely cold conditions, charging and rapid-charging behaviour and evaluating cell sizes and forms. This in-house technological expertise is key to enhancing the battery, thereby enabling higher performance capabilities.

The BMW C Evolution is an electric two-wheeler already available in the U.S. market.

The BMW Group will also gain build-to-print expertise and can then contract out production of battery cells produced to its exact product requirements and specifications. This core competence – which covers the entire value chain from selection of materials, cell design, integration into battery systems, manufacturability and production technologies – gives the company a definite competitive edge, while leveraging cost benefits and economies of scale.

The BMW Group has already completed years of research into battery cells and acquired a high level of evaluation competence, especially through the development of the BMW i models. The company will concentrate know-how from various specialist departments and locations at the new Battery Cell Competence Centre and step up its efforts in this area to achieve faster impact. Research findings will be incorporated directly into the latest battery generation.

Fifth generation of BMW Group electric drivetrains from 2021: electric motor, transmission and power electronics form new component

The BMW Group is already developing the fifth generation of its electric drivetrain, for release in 2021, in which interaction between the electric motor, transmission, power electronics and battery have been further optimised.

A decisive advantage of this future electric drive is that the electric motor, transmission and power electronics are combined in a new and separate electric-drive component. With its compact design, this highly integrated new component takes up significantly less space than the three separate components used in previous generations. Its modular concept means that it is also scalable and can be modified for a wide range of different packages and performance levels, increasing flexibility and making it easier to install the new electric drivetrain component in different vehicle derivatives. Integrating the electric motor, transmission and power electronics into a single component uses fewer parts and therefore saves costs.

A further highlight is that the new electric motor does not require the use of rare earths, making the BMW Group no longer dependent on their availability.

The fifth-generation electric drivetrain also uses new, more powerful batteries. Their scalable, modular design means they can be used flexibly in the respective vehicle architecture at different production sites.

Mock-up of the future Battery Cell Competence Center in Munich.

Thanks to further development of the battery in particular, the new electric drivetrain extends the range of pure battery-electric vehicles to up to 700 km. In plug-in hybrid models, distances up to 100 kilometres are possible. In this way, the BMW Group continues to expand its innovation leadership in this field.

With the electric motor and battery developed and produced in-house, the BMW Group already possesses a high level of core competence and value creation for electric drivetrains. In-house production gives the BMW Group a decisive competitive advantage, by securing know-how in new technologies, gaining important systems expertise and leveraging cost benefits.

The flexibility of the new electric drivetrain component and upgraded modular battery will continue to ensure the BMW Group’s freedom of action in the future. Thanks to the scalable electric modular systems, from 2020 it will be possible to fit all model series with any drivetrain, according to demand. The fifth-generation electric drivetrain achieves high levels of driving performance and good range with much less weight. It will be integrated into both front- and rear-wheel drive flexible enhanced vehicle architectures, which will also be suitable for all drive forms. This flexibility means the company will be able to meet the predicted demand for several hundred thousand electrified vehicles in 2025.

International production network

The BMW Group benefits from a highly flexible production network that can respond quickly to demand for electrified models. All electrified vehicles are integrated into the existing production system.

The company already produces electrified vehicles at ten locations worldwide. The batteries needed for these models come from the three battery factories in Dingolfing, Germany, Spartanburg in the USA and Shenyang, China. The BMW Group plant in Dingolfing plays a leading role within the network as the centre of competence for electric drive systems.

See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. Bob S. says:

    Perhaps a “Competence Center” for final drives and front suspensions would be a good idea in addition to one for batteries.

  2. RM says:

    Electric vehicles need to get real. It’s no use having 60 – 80 mile range and a replenish time measured in hours. To be useful to me, I need a range of 500 miles, and/or a replenish time of a few minutes. Perhaps if you could exchange flat batteries for full ones at the fuel station? I can’t justify/afford the hugely high purchase cost. They also need to sort out where this electricity is going to come from. There’s no point burning fossil fuel in a power station! Oh yes, and I’m a namby pamby who doesn’t want nuclear. 6 years on from the Fukashima disaster, they *think* they may have found the nuclear fuel that went missing, but they’re not sure! This is not the sort of world I want to leave for my children and grandchildren…
    I’m sure these things will all get sorted, but for now they are no more than (expensive) toys.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I’m a namby pamby who doesn’t want nuclear.”

      Kim J(ong) looks over his reading glasses at you with disdain, then returns to his 2 month old copy of the Washington Post.

    • Dave says:

      The need for range like that puts you into a small minority of users (among even motorcyclists, who are a small minority of road users). Very few users put in that much daily mileage. There are some economic obstacles to overcome, but even at a 80 mile theoretical range, electric motos will grow massively in cities with HOV and toll schemes that are changing to pretty much rule out single users in cars and they’ll replace gas bikes in Europe where fuel is already very expensive.

      It might not be for you and me, but it’s going to change, and pretty fast.

  3. downgoesfraser says:

    The not so distant future is ordering a car with phone to go wherever you need to go, do what you need to do, and order another car to take you home. No car payment, insurance, maintenance, storage. Hot rods and motorcycles will still be there, just like horses are now. Those that really want to ride will do it on the relative safety of a race track, dirt, paved, ice.

    • Dave says:

      You just read the Bob Lutz email, didn’t you…

      • downgoesfraser says:

        Anyone that is paying attention can see this coming.

        • mickey says:

          Where I live I can’t even get a pizza delivered. You think I can call up and order an Uber? Lol

        • Dave says:

          It seems logical, but I’ve also been paying attention to the election results and corporate lobbying. Lots of logical, sensible things aren’t seeing the light of day (high speed regional rail?). If the above scenario doesn’t benefit big oil and the auto makers, I wouldn’t make any early bets.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “The not so distant future is ordering a car with phone to go wherever you need to go, do what you need to do, and order another car to take you home. No car payment, insurance, maintenance, storage.”

      Minority Report, we’ve seen this movie…

  4. William says:

    What will BMW do with all their effort on electric? So far a scooter. I don’t want a scooter. Will they make something along the lines of the Alta, KTM Freeride E, or Zero FX? I don’t think so. I would like my next bike to be electric. They don’t have to sell me on some save the planet concept. For offroad, low noise and no stalling, are both excellent qualities that are very compelling. I was recently thinking about a klx250 dual sport. Then I thought the Zero FX has way more power and is lighter. However, the reliability, price, range, charge time, and availability of charging, for electric still make the klx250 look good. It is good that a major company is putting some effort to electric. Maybe something good will come out of BMW’s effort, but I am still doubtful they will make something I would buy.

  5. Fred says:

    There are lots of things to like about EV’s, but the ability to generate, store, and transmit electricity of the scale necessary for widespread EV adoption is years, even generations away. The current world economy is oil-based, and for good reason. Neither the electric infrastructure not battery technology will allow the EV revolution to occur for a long time.

    The main (IMHO) points of resistance to EV adoption in the U.S.A. are the attitudes of the EV proponents and the impracticality of EV’s for the vast majority of Americans. If the EV fanatics were rational, rather than delusional in their claims and hatred of the greatest driver of prosperity in the history of the world, our resistance might lessen.

    • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

      Guess you haven’t been really keeping up with EV news. Gas cars for one will be outlawed to be sold new in many countries by 2040 if not sooner. California is considering the same thing. Most auto manufacturers are coming out with more all electric models within the next 5 years or less. Not to mention Tesla and their new 625 mile per charge roadster, and 500 mile charge semi-trucks.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “California is considering the same thing” Cali, the home of all American car culture outside of Detroit…

        hate to be a magistrate in Cali, they’re going to CATCH HELL.

    • Dave says:

      Fred, you have just about everything backwards there. Power generation and transmission can be increased in months, not years. The storage system is the EV’s. Currently virtually all of the fuel you use is transmitted by ground vehicle. How inefficient is THAT?

      With the exception of price objection (which is being erased quickly), EV’s are practical for the vast majority of Americans right now.

      There was a time when the horse was one of the greatest drivers of prosperity. We haven’t even had commercial flight for 100 years. Times change.

  6. todd says:

    Ducati will do really well as an electric bike…

  7. Michael P. says:

    Six months ago I would have sounded pretty much like everyone else here, til I threw a leg over a Zero FXS, now as an owner of a 2018 Alta Redshift Supermoto, I say bring on the electric bikes, I’ve owned well over 100 motorcycles, raced just about everything, worked 10+ years in the industry and have drank the electric “kool-aid” and I like it, lots of folks need more range, that is coming hard and fast, also faster charging, that too is coming, performance wise they’re already there, my bike weighs 283 lbs and makes 120 ft lbs of torque. Pretty much the only maintenance required is 2 oz of gear oil to be changed every year in the reducer, takes less than 5 minutes and maybe the coolant (it is liquid cooled) every couple years, that’s it. Don’t throw rocks at them yet folks, if I can be swayed, anyone can…

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Wow, someone who has actually ridden something before posting a comment about the riding experience. Bravo!

      • mickey says:

        I have ridden a Zero S, pretty neat, I actually enjoyed my ride, but as a retired motorcyclist who rides for pleasure and not as a commute, I may leave in the morning and ride 250-300 miles in a day. On a tour I may do 700 miles in a day (as I did riding home from Arkansas this summer). I’ve done eleven 500 mile days in a row riding to Cali and back from Ohio. I wouldn’t care if my motorcycle was an automatic, I wouldn’t care if it didn’t make any noise other than the whine the Zero I rode did. It would be great not to throw $15 of gas in the tank every couple of hours. I just need them to be able to go further/quicker than they can on a charge now. Not everyone lives in the city. There are huge expanses of this country that I like to ride that make this type of vehicle not feasible.

        If I were riding less than 100 a day an EV might make sense and if that were the caase an EV scooter would make the most sense (although the buy in price for EV is pretty high at this point) but I wouldn’t spend that kind of money to basically ride around the neighborhood.

      • todd says:

        Many people have ridden electric bikes, not everyone is converted. I’ve ridden a Zero, it wasn’t very exciting. I’ve been invited by the Alta team to come check theirs out too – I’m sure that will be more impressive. However, I just do not enjoy riding or driving automatics, especially one that doesn’t feel and sound like it has an engine. I have developed electric commuter cars, hybrid-electric commercial trucks and super cars, even did a hybrid-electric chassis/drivetrain study for GM Corvette… but, meh, it’s not for me.

        I would rather drive a diesel VW Caddy to save fuel than drive a Tesla (the Caddy is more fun to drive too!) and the premium that is charged for an electric vehicle just does not make economic sense to me. Sure, there are people who want to be seen saving the world (that’s why electric conversions of ice cars are not as popular as ones that are solely electric) and I say that’s great for them. I live in the USA where I am free to ride my gas burning bikes and buy cars with manual transmissions. Even if electric was all that was available new, it wouldn’t stop my regular habit of browsing Craigslist for a mk1 GTI.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “have drank the electric “kool-aid” and I like it”

      taste’s like chicken (soup).

      re: “Don’t throw rocks at them yet folks”

      STONE HIM…!!! (throng of disheveled villagers with torches voice)

  8. HM says:

    And where are you going to buy your electricity after realizing that it has at least doubled in the last eight years? After the crybabies get the nuclear powerplants all shut down and it is mostly replaced by fuels. What is the real gain over ICE? Volcanic erruptions and fires do count in the real world!

    • Dirck Edge says:

      People I disagree with = “crybabies.” Thanks for contributing. Look up “ad hominem.”

    • Rhinestone Kawboy says:

      Solar and wind will be able to replace many of these fuel or even nuclear powerplants, not to mention the water driven turbines. You can even make your own electric at home with a solar panel array and powerwall batteries. This is already powering a part of Australia, and parts of Puerto Rico.

  9. Daytona James says:

    I’m baffled by the high rate of MD commenters who appear to be laggards on the technology adoption scale. With the perspective of almost 50 years on bikes, I too, have celebrated the latest, greatest developments in power, speed, and handling. I was even guilty of putting an aftermarket pipe on nearly every bike I ever owned… The BRAAAP was your signature. However, I don’t share many of the sentiments I see posted here. I recognize the effect that fossil fuels are having on our environment. As an aside, and having traveled extensively throughout Europe and parts of South America recently, I am coming to the conclusion that perhaps Americans are the only population on the planet who, generally speaking, don’t acknowledge Climate Change as a bonafide threat to our existence. I understand that change is the only permanent thing in life, and further, that I will have to come to appreciate the lack of noise that comes from my future motorcycles. I’ll get over it. But c’mon… the performance WILL be there. The industry is in its infancy and they are already hitting home runs with the tech advances they’re making. Yes, there are components involved that pose lifecycle and extractive costs we need to address. However, the immediate issue we face is CO2 emissions. You can resist what is and let it all piss you off, or you can accept what is and happily contribute to the resolution of the direst situation humanity now faces. Red pill or Blue pill moment folks… your choice.

    • Bob K says:

      “I’m baffled by the high rate of MD commenters who appear to be laggards on the technology adoption scale. ”
      I don’t think that anyone here is afraid to adopt new technologies into our lives. Our problem is when the new technology doesn’t offer better or equal performance, reliability and convenience. Just being new and different isn’t worth the price of admission.

      • Mr.Mike says:

        Clearly you are not paying attention. With so few moving parts maintenance needs are drastically reduced with electric vehicles. How about never having to clean an air filter, change spark plugs, change motor oil, deal with the fuel system, adjust valves, worry about cam chain tension, etc. Once engineers have range and recharge time nailed electric vehicles will be orders of magnitude more convenient than the ICE and having had to deal with the ICE will be as laughable as having to turn a crank to start a Model T.

    • Crazyjoe says:

      People who can afford to live in the center of town can probably afford to go electric. BMW brags about 0-30 Times of 2.6 sec and a range of 100 miles for their C in electric. The ice version does much better for far less. Either way performance uses more energy. How many here buy bikes that get 35mpg instead of 80?

      Don’t know if there going still give a tax break for electrics and hybrids. Buying one would be less appealing without it. You have to admit there’s only few true “believers” and once we get a few cooler years global warming will become history.

    • beasty says:

      “However the immediate issue we face is CO2 emissions.”
      Grow more trees. Problem solved. Next.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Except they keep cutting those down instead of growing them, no?

        • mickey says:

          or nature burns them down (as in west coast wild fires)

          however if you have ever flown over this country and looked down at all, there are a LOT of trees.

          • Chris says:

            And then pictures from satellites would seem to show that there are fewer trees than there use to be. And deserts have grown larger… How much of that is natural vs human causes?

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Grow more trees. Problem solved. Next”

        and with that, cue today’s Google Doodle for 8 December 2017. the 287th birthday of the Dutch scientist/chemist who discovered Photosynthesis…

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “The industry is in its infancy and they are already hitting home runs with the tech advances they’re making.”

      Honestly, the battery biz has been at it for a very, very long time. That isn’t a knock to the progress that has been made, but it is a knock to the exaggerated rate of development (my opinion) that the industry would lead us too believe is afoot. And I say that as someone who would feel perfectly fine about replacing my ICE bikes (and autos) with electric given comparable capabilities.

      I’d love to be wrong, but I don’t think true electrical replacements for the utility most of us want out of our bikes are on the horizon just yet.

    • paul246 says:

      “As an aside, and having traveled extensively throughout Europe and parts of South America recently, I am coming to the conclusion that perhaps Americans are the only population on the planet who, generally speaking, don’t acknowledge Climate Change as a bonafide threat to our existence”

      … so you didn’t mind planting your large carbon footprint all over our globe??… but you now chastise others.

      Most people do acknowledge that there is in fact climate change, it is what the main driving force that is behind it that is the subject of debate. We are arrogant to think that we have caused it, we havn’t. These cycles have happened in the past, repeatedly, long before there were ancient peoples, modern civilization or any industrial revolution. When we are gone, the cycles will continue.

      • Chris says:

        Actually, I think the debate is on how much influence humanity has had on climate change. 0%? 100? Somewhere in the middle?

    • Tom R says:

      MD readers: a basket of laggards?

  10. mickey says:

    One thing most certain…Europe viability is a lot different than USA viability., and at this point it is being forced on the Euros, hence BMW’s deep involvement

  11. Tom R says:

    Since some car manufacturers now pump artificial exhaust and engine sounds into the passenger cabins, it would be a hoot if something like this were done for electric motorcycles.

    Sound ridiculous? That’s what I thought when I first learned of this feature in cars. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

    • Bob K says:

      Download your favorite motorcycle tracks?
      Always loved the sound of the MV F4. How about NH69’s championship winning V5?

    • Onto says:

      “some car manufacturers now pump artificial exhaust and engine sounds into the passenger cabins”

      It’s not the lack of sound to the rider/driver that concerns me. The problem is that people and animals won’t hear us coming.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “people and animals won’t hear us coming.”

        meanwhile the news out of Zurich is the sound of Ducati’s new V4 with pipes frightens small dogs and children. ironically BIG DOGS are instinctively drawn to it. like a stray wolf, they think it’s a lost member of the pack…

  12. Stratkat says:

    its not the range so much as the wait time to recharge. on a ICE you can do 400 miles stop at a gas station and refill and be one your way in 5 minutes. till they figure that out…

    • DP says:

      With new research from Rice university it seems that recharge time can be greatly minimized; minutes instead of hours.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I’m pretty sure I’ve been reading that narrative since the early nineties. Someone is always on the cusp of having some major breakthrough with batteries it seems, but it is rare for anything to ever come from it, at least with the immediacy proclaimed.

        That isn’t to say that that large strides haven’t been made, but it seems more a journey of continuous improvement than a sequence of miracles. I could be wrong, but I suspect we are still pretty far away.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “I’m pretty sure I’ve been reading that narrative since the early nineties. Someone is always on the cusp of having some major breakthrough with batteries it seems”

          exactly, every 2 years for the past 20 somebody’s been touting a development that never comes to fruition. i contend these people know f#&kall about the Periodic Table and the limits therein.

          sooner or later man must stop being suckered by his own greed and the “myth of progress”. when we do this we’ll see we’ve actually already been GIVEN our breakthrough in the form of Li-Ion technology (true story).

          we all have our “fancy thinking phones” yes…? and as i’ve said before i LOVE my cordless power tools and certainly the contractors putting the new roof and solar panels on the house at the corner LOVE theirs.

          Musk certainly didn’t risk all to build the ginormous GigaFactory around some “nebulous” technology that may never come, no he built it on the “current strengths” (get it, see what i did there) of existing Lithium based chemistry…

        • Dave says:

          It has been and will continue to be a journey of continuous improvement, but it will come faster and faster as demand and volumes increase. Half of the issue has been access to existing tech at acceptable costs, because of small volume.

          “exactly, every 2 years for the past 20 somebody’s been touting a development that never comes to fruition.”

          Really? That’s what you see? If you count backwards in 2 year increments, you don’t have to go far at all before you reach the point where there were no viable electric or hybrid vehicles available to consumers. Now these technologies are commonplace. I’d say things are moving very fast.

          • Norm G. says:

            Q: “Really? That’s what you see?

            A: close, it’s what those of us paying attention have actually read and experienced.

            re: “these technologies are commonplace”

            you may want to read my post again, Li-Ion is commonplace.

            all the other “bigger and better mouse trap” promises regarding battery tech are actually scams to attract funding from those with more money than an understanding of Electron Chemistry, lord knows they’re out here.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “Half of the issue has been access to existing tech at acceptable costs, because of small volume.”

            I’m not so sure I buy that. The battery cells themselves are already mass produced and have been for decades now. They’re just made from very expensive stuff. I know the cells aren’t the only component to the battery modules, and there can be gains made from more volume for packs and chassis. But I think at best they may improve cost to the level of current subsidies, which means the vehicles will still be pretty expensive. Time will tell. I am hopeful but not entirely optimistic about these kinds of claims from the industry.

          • Dave says:

            Jeremy in TX, it really is just a matter of volume (I’ve spent some time sourcing these things). At the volumes and specific chemistries that small vehicle makers need to buy battery cells, their makers are almost completely uninterested. They’re much happier delivering a million + units at a time to the consumer electronics industry. The same is true of the BMS equipment.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            That is a good point as I am largely thinking of volumes produced vs. volumes purchased by individual OEMs. Not sure why this elementary and obvious variable didn’t cause a few synapses in the old gray stuff to light up before during this exchange.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “till they figure that out.”

      i’ve already long given the solution. it’s the “village bicycle”/sharing model as we now see coming into being. you jump out/off of your car/cycle and jump in/on to another and keep it moving. the only “change” required here is in the mind of the human being, which is perhaps the toughest.

      • yellowhammer says:

        Agree; mindset. I would have a hard time exchanging a clean, new, enthusiasts motorcycle for a scarred beater.

        • Norm G. says:

          no worries, just ask the car hire rep to give you a different vehicle. exchanges are quite common for both business and casual travelers. again, the “learning curve” here is wholly the burden of the consumer.

      • Onto says:

        Don’t change bikes. Just have quickly interchangeable batteries. Instead of petrol stations there could be charging stations where you exchange your discharged battery for a fully charged one. The process could be mechanised to make it quick and easy. There would need to be some standardisation of battery sizes.

        However, you would not be too happy about swapping your new battery for one that is near the end of its life. The solution – have a system where you buy your bike without a battery, and then lease the battery. If your battery expires you would be given a new one and just keep making lease payments.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Don’t change bikes”

          DO change bikes.

          re: “Just have quickly interchangeable batteries”

          just interchange humans quicker still.

          re: “The process could be (mechanized) to make it quick and easy.”

          the bulk of mankind is born with 2 legs and 2 arms for a reason. we are naturally adapted for FIE, the Fastest Interchanges Ever.

          Murg positions one of his freakishly long arms to “thumb his nose” at your Rube-Goldberg machine for battery swaps…

    • mechanicus says:

      Strategically placed battery pack R&R station chain seems to be the only viable solution. Huge infrastructure capital burden + obvious route limiting.

      • Bob K says:

        That would work wonderfully if the industry could decide on a standard, like was done with AAA, AA, C and D batteries. And they need to be quick swappable.
        However, as the article states, BMW wants to “integrate” multiple components to save money by reducing parts count and make it easier to “drop in” on the assembly line. No hot swapping of batteries here.

    • mickey says:

      There is a guy in Rider Mag doing a tour on an electric bike. he has the fast charge option or something, but he has to stop at hotels and camp grounds with 220V and recharge. He can go 4 hours if he doesn’t run wide open, and it takes 4 hours to “fast” charge.

      For most that is just not a viable option.

      • Dave says:

        Re: “Till they figure that out..”

        They won’t get buy in from a tiny percentage of drivers?

        For the vast majority, the need to go 400 miles at a time isn’t a need, much less the need to refill immediately. The average American driver drives 35 miles/day and 70%+ of the population lives in urban areas.

        The only obstacle to e-cars right now is purchase cost and that’s going away quickly with increased volumes. Once the math works out, and it will, ICE cars will start disappearing.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “ICE cars will start disappearing”

          “over my dead body…” (nasally Jay Leno voice)

        • Don says:

          You are thinking in terms of people using their bikes as commuter vehicles. The majority of bikes bought here in the US are weekend adventure(not necessarily ADV) machines. I may not travel 400mi. at a crack, but I certainly want to be able to go 100 – 200 mi. as fast as I can get away with.

  13. wjf says:

    I have heard, for electric/hybrid cars, that the mining process to create the batteries is not very eco-friendly. Seems like an odd trade off if this is true.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “the mining process to create the batteries is not very eco-friendly”

      it’s called trading one rape of the natural world for another rape of the natural world and pretending as though a “paradigm shift” in Universal Law has occurred. it would go over better if they’re simply upfront about it in the beginning. we saw what happened with the lies told around diesel.

    • DP says:

      You are right, new mining requirement (lithium and copper) will increase pollution. We in industrialized world will not see that much of it as these materials will come from “resource regions” (part of Afghanistan lays on lithium deposits…), butt world as whole will be burdened with it.

      Then comes demand for generation of more power. No free lunch.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “No free lunch.”

        see, Dani Pedrosa gets it.

      • beasty says:

        “butt world as whole”
        Bwahahaha! Sorry.

      • Dave says:

        Mineral mining will happen and fuel will be burned for energy no matter what. Maximizing the benefit of that mineral mining and becoming more efficient are the opportunities.

        An electric car owner may use coal fired power to charge his battery, but a chevy bolt’s battery holds the equivalent of 1.8 gallons of gasoline’s energy when full. That’s a huge net gain in efficiency. As more things run on electricity, electric power production and transmission will become much more efficient.

        Nobody is getting a free lunch, but it’ll be possible to get the lunch for $5, when you used to pay $15.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Mineral mining will happen and fuel will be burned for energy no matter what.”

          close, we must tell the truth. ironically NOT telling the truth is how we got here. mineral mining won’t just trundle along at current rates, inefficient mining operations “hollowing out the Earth” must increase EXPONENTIALLY on the front end for us to later enjoy these efficiencies on the back end. Universal Law ENFORCES balance, it is a
          “mathematical certainty”.

          re: “it’ll be possible to get the lunch for $5, when you used to pay $15.”

          no worries, merely a “rationale” we tell ourselves to make us feel better about what we’re doing. another certainty is how historically we manage to “generate” one every time, pun intended.

  14. KenLee says:

    Financial balance of electric motorcycles comparing to petrol powered ones is simply stupid today. Let’s take two bikes close by character and performance: Zero SR and Suzuki SV 650. Suzuki base price is cheaper on 9500$ than Zero SR. If we consider relatively high mileage of 10.000 miles a year, then mentioned amount will be enough to buy gasoline for over 14 years of riding Suzuki! Considering that we need to pay also for charging electricity, we can add another few years until the balance will be equalized indeed. It’s even not necessary to mention range, charging time, top speed etc., to find electric bikes as a toys for rich eco-freaks (as they don’t want to hear about differences in pollution level during production and future utilising old batteries).

  15. Frank says:

    Yes Dave, and the roof mowing and lawn care industry will be following right behind the growth of our new electric mobility future…invest now!

  16. Bill says:

    I would like a generation of hybrids to bridge the transition.

    • clasqm says:

      Hybrids are fine for cars, but on a bike you just can’t have the weight of an entire second engine and an entire second energy storage compartment. Two engines, a gas tank and a battery? You’re looking at Goldwing heft for half the performance.

      • Random says:

        Honda did it in a small scooter. Compared to the size and weight of current [pardon the pun] batteries, the ICE or the extra electric motor aren’t that big.

      • Bill says:

        Run a small ICE as a generater and power the rear wheel with an electric motor and you have half the weight of a Gold Wing and twice the performance.

        • Clasqm says:

          That’s a range extender (like I have in my BMW i3, BTW), not a hybrid.

          • todd says:

            No, it’s called a “series hybrid”. A range extender is the little hot pad you can plug in at the side of your stove

  17. Grover says:

    Like it or not, electric vehicles are the future. Not.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Like it or not” i do like actually.

      re: “electric vehicles are the future.” close, electrics will be just a PART of the future. this will parallel the same way NatGas was supposed to take over America’s transportation’s future, but here we are many years later (with an even more abundant supply of CH4) and still it’s only made in-roads in NICHE applications. good or bad this will be the same for BEV.

      on this side of the Pond anyway, no red-blooded American male age 18-65 is going to willing give up the keys to his 5.0 Liter Coyote Mustang without a fight. the “gasoline life’s” too addictive for that.

      • Bud says:

        “no red-blooded American male age 18-65 is going to willing give up the keys to his 5.0 Liter Coyote Mustang without a fight. the “gasoline life’s” too addictive for that.”

        Absolutely. I work at an EV startup, and I’ve tried explaining to some of my co-workers (who aren’t American) the magnitude of anti-EV cultural sentiment in the USA. They don’t seem to get it.

        I believe EVs will see the most success in large urban centers in Asia, and possibly Europe. North America, not so much. Our culture here is one of “bigger, badder, better!” and EVs just can’t hang in that regard.

        • mickey says:

          Can you just see tens of thousands of electric pick ups running around Texas?

          • Norm G. says:

            Q: Can you just see tens of thousands of electric pick ups running around Texas?

            A: only if Texas has thousands of National Parks, i don’t know do they…?

            Forest Ranger’s gotta sneak up on Yogi in something.

          • GoodlyRun says:

            I also work at an EV startup in Texas and we are building electric pick-ups.

          • mickey says:

            building or selling? Big difference

    • Randy D. says:

      Hey, I heard that in the `70’s when there was 1 small electric car available in Beaverton, Or. Saw the dealership but none on the roads.

  18. mickey says:

    Scooters are the perfect platform for electric.

    • Gham says:

      I don’t know if they can recover research and development cost using a scooter platform.It’s going to have to be offered on something else.

      • Dave says:

        Electric scooters are already everywhere in Asian cities.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I agree a scooter is ideal. They sell in huge numbers outside of North America, typically contend with congested, low-speed traffic conditions (perfect for electric powertrains), their riders have already adopted automatic transmissions, and they don’t require a huge range.

        The greatest technical challenge is providing an infrastructure where these things can charge overnight or during a workday. That is a major hurdle.

  19. dave says:

    Soooo….We’re all gonna start mowing our roofs, too? 😉

    • Hot Dog says:

      It wouldn’t surprise me if a person, who lived in a earth home, would mow his roof with a lithium battery powered mower. I’ve been ice fishing for many years and just bought a battery powered ice auger. Things change over time. Resistance is futile.

    • Norm G. says:

      Q: We’re all gonna start mowing our roofs, too?

      A: yes.

      hey you kids get off of my ROOF…!!! (curmudgeon Norm shakes fist in air)

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