published at 04.04.2014, 15:25
Urban Mobility

Ride the revolution

As the first customer all-electric e-scooters roll off the factory assembly lines in Berlin, we bring you an exclusive interview with BMW C evolution Product and Launch Manager Dorit Mangold, who has been ‘plugged-in’ to this exciting project from conception to delivery

How does it feel to finally see the C evolution coming off the production line after all this time involved with the project?

It’s a great moment. This is the point we’ve all been working towards for the last months and years. Now we’re going into production, I’m also looking forwards to a few weeks from now, when the first machines will be delivered to customers. Hopefully they will enjoy it as much as we all did, on the occasions where we had the chance to ride it.

There has been so much testing, development and field trials that it must hardly feel like a ‘new’ e-scooter for you?

If you’ve been involved in the development for the past few years, the product is never as “new” at launch as for others. Therefore, you are much more focused on the reaction of those first coming into contact with the vehicle. For example, there has been the recent dealer launch in February which was such a great success. The comments that came back were along the lines of ‘fantastic’, ‘stunning’, ‘unbelievable’, ‘the vehicle with the biggest grin factor’ – the C evolution was undoubtedly a big and pleasant surprise for all our dealers. They were all very positively impressed.

From the outside, the C evolution didn’t appear to change much from the original prototypes, which suggest it was ‘right’ from the beginning. Apart from the necessary homologation changes to meet serial production standard requirements, has much actually changed ‘beneath the skin’?

The basic technology concept and design has not changed a lot. But on a single parts level, some of these have changed immensely to reach to production standard. The scooters that we saw at the 2012 Olympics in London were really prototypes, so in order to get this complex new technology to standard production we put a lot of development work into every part – for example into the battery box, which is at the same time the main frame. Or the applications development for the different control units, the detailing and fine-tuning of the chassis setup and rider assistance systems, and much more. In fact, compared with the vehicles we had in 2012, probably not a single screw has been left unturned to reach serial production. It may not look like it from the outside, but under the skin the production C evolution is a very different vehicle from the prototype version.

With so much focus on sustainable technology, one could argue that BMW Motorrad has undersold just how much fun this bike is to ride. Would you agree with that?

No, actually not. We’ve always stated that electric mobility doesn’t have to be rational and boring, but is actually a lot of fun – that’s one of the biggest USPs for the C evolution. But the best way for them to see just how much fun the C evolution is to ride, is for them to take a test ride – and the biggest communicators for that are going to be journalists, customers and dealers. The word is definitely going to spread, that’s for sure.

What is the current situation with regard to licensing categories for the C evolution? Who can ride it and who can’t?

You need at least the licence category A1, which is the 125cc equivalent. So anyone who has this category on their licence can ride the C evolution. There are many countries, such as Italy, Spain and France, where this licence is included in the car licence, or it can be added on the car licence with little effort.

What level of servicing will be available to customers from BMW Motorrad dealers, when purchasing the C evolution?

There is a standard battery certificate that extends the warranty on the battery modules over five years or 50,000 kilometres. Obviously, the service requirements are much less than on a conventional motorcycle, as there is no combustion engine. You don’t have oil to change and you don’t have valves to adjust. A yearly check-up is recommended but your basic maintenance work on the e-scooter involves the brake system, like any conventional motorcycle or scooter. The belt drive is virtually maintenance-free and only needs checking every 50,000 kilometres, and the traction battery doesn’t require any maintenance. You’ll need to see to your 12V battery though, as you would on a conventional scooter.

When will we see the first press test reports of the C evolution?

The press event is starting on 24 April in Barcelona for the markets that are introducing the C evolution.

Where is the best place for people to find out more information about the C evolution?

Right here on this website, with its link to the BMW Motorrad Facebook site is currently the best source for comprehensive information about the C evolution, as well as details of any future activities.