BMW looks to future mobility with striking ebike and moto concepts
After attempting to fill the space between a small motorcycle and a motorscooter with the Concept CE-02, BMW Motorrad is now presenting two more visions of the future at IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich this week: the i Vision AMBY ebike and the Vision AMBY electric motorcycle.
AMBY stands for Adaptive Mobility, which BMW says is at the heart of the two concepts presented today at IAA Mobility. First up is the i Vision AMBY, which is very much a pedelec, but with enough grunt to occupy a middle ground between current ebikes and light motorcycles.
And it's quite the looker too – all sharp angles, athletic stance and futuristic vibe. Features of note include a wide handlebar fronted by a funky LED strip light with auto high-beam, matched by a vertical rear light integrated into the seat post, and for some reason, the designers have included an E Ink display underneath that shows current ride mode.
The space between the aluminum top tubes can be used for storage, and BMW expects the huge 2,000-Wh battery below to offer riders a per-charge range of up to 300 km (186 miles) in the lowest motor-assist level, and can be removed for charging indoors. An unspecified motor sits at pedal level, and connects to the quick-release rear wheel via a belt drive, while the rear wheel itself in mounted to a single-sided swingarm.
The i Vision AMBY rides on 27.5-inch wheels wrapped in chunky tires that should soak up some of the terrain along the way, but there's also 120 mm of travel available from front and rear suspension. The design also includes an ABS system specially developed for bicycles.
BMW's designers have opted to treat the ebike to three power levels aimed at tackling different kinds of environments, and controlled via a companion app running on a smartphone mounted to the magnetic "integration pad" on the top bar.
Riders can get up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph) with motor assist in bike lanes, 45 km/h (28 mph) in the city, and 60 km (37 mph) in urban areas and multi-lane roads. These modes can be activated manually, but the company sees geofencing technology working with a mapping service to engage the appropriate power level automatically.
However, since this "modular speed concept" currently sits outside of existing legislative frameworks, BMW suggests that this design study could serve as a means to open the conversation for something with more scope – even it requires ebikers to secure additional category permits.
The ebike's designers have already figured this into the equation too, and the companion app is expected to help things along by taking on the role of a digital key, loading up appropriate licence classes as they're gained and ensuring that the correct insurance cover is applied for legal riding.
The app can also serve up ebike status, ride info, theft-proofing, and more, but can also be set to warn the rider of traffic approaching from the rear, and is designed to store rider profiles to enable such things as setting the electrically adjustable seat post to the correct height automatically. BMW says that tire pressure monitoring could also be a possibility.
Where riders will need to put in some legwork to benefit from motor assist with the i Vision ebike, the curious Vision AMBY is throttle only. Curious because, although the battery and output specs are not given, the two-wheeler will come with the same three app-driven power modes as the ebike, topping out at 60 km/h.
Again designed to span the divide between ebike and motorcycle, this concept has the look of an Enduro machine, with its thin (and uncomfortable-looking) integrated seat, 26-inch wheel to the front that's wrapped in a chunky but thin tire, and a 24-inch flavor at the back with a "more rounded" chunky tire. And it looks like BMW is expecting riders to go off-road as well as on with this concept.
The seat rises to an angle at the front and leads to a magnetic smartphone mount, where riders can check on how much of the 100 km (62 miles) of per-charge is remaining with a quick glance, what mode is engaged, current speed, and so on. And again, geofencing technology is expected to allow for automatic switching between appropriate power modes, which are displayed on the licence plate to keep other road users in the know.
The moto rocks a small U-shaped LED headlight and double-element tail light, has a seat height of 830 mm (32.6 in), and tips the scales at a fairly lightweight 65 kg (143 lb).
For now, these concepts are just that. BMW Motorrad hasn't indicated any current or future production intentions. They're more of a talking point on what might be. And they're sure to succeed in that regard.