SINGAPORE – Its narrow and low-slung frame, plus its unconventional design make BMW Motorrad’s latest electric scooter, the CE 04, stand out. This battery-powered bike will get curious stares from other road users and pedestrians, especially when it shoots past them silently.
At a glance, the CE 04 possesses attributes synonymous with those of a maxi-scooter – spacious and equipped with smart technology. But it also shows a sportier side, with 42bhp on tap.
Like a grand prix race motorcycle, it has winglets to draw turbulent air at the front during acceleration. The front double disc brake covers resemble the type seen on Moto2 race bikes. The CE 04 single-sided swingarm is a modern design, but its exposed rear wheel looks like it came from a Datsun 120Y, without its hub cap.
While weighing a hefty 231kg, the CE 04 is a nifty fellow when gunning away from traffic lights. It can accelerate from 0 to 50kmh in 2.6 seconds, with a top speed of 120kmh, and has a range of close to 130km (or half that of an equivalent petrol maxi scooter). What gives the CE 04 an early boost is its maximum torque of 62Nm, which is available from 1,500rpm.
I get a kick from launching the CE 04 at traffic stops and waiting a few seconds later for the rest of the motorists to catch up. In city traffic, being first off the line after comfortably squeezing past stalled traffic is a bonus. When I struggle to back the CE 04 out of a parking space, I just need to engage its “reverse” motor.
Without a doubt, the CE 04 is a smart and connected cookie. Its large 10.25-inch full-colour TFT screen tells you all you need to know – from how much battery life is left to tyre pressure to the level of power regeneration it gets when you close the throttle. The system – which allows you to pair your phone to it for navigation – is similar to those found on pricier BMW motorcycles.
The electric BMW has four riding modes. It is mostly calm in Eco and Rain modes. But in Road or Dynamic modes, you get full power.
While I have ridden other electric scooters, the CE 04, which costs about $53,800 without certificate of entitlement, can be said to be the most comfortable.
You can stretch your legs on the extended floorboards. At traffic stops, both my feet were planted firmly on tarmac. The front 35mm (diameter) telescopic forks are non-adjustable with 4.3 inches of travel. At the rear is a chunky shock that is pre-load-adjustable with 3.6 inches of travel.
With larger 15-inch wheels, what you get is a plush and comfortable ride that does not wiggle nervously over bumps. Its long wheelbase of 1,675mm – longer than that of BMW’s enormous R NineT, which has a wheelbase of 1,487mm – also helps with ride stability. Nevertheless, it does not steer as quickly into bends.
The keyless CE 04 comes with a permanent magnet liquid-cooled synchronous motor that sits under its plank-looking seat. The motor is powered by an air-cooled 148-volt lithium-ion battery.
BMW says charging the CE 04’s battery at a petrol station should take less than two hours.
While the CE 04 is a big machine, its storage space – located below the right side of the seat – accommodates only one full-face helmet. That is a relatively small price to pay for looking cool.
BMW CE 04
Price: $53,800 without COE
Motor: Permanent magnet liquid-cooled synchronous motor with air-cooled 8.9kWh battery
Transmission: Single-speed automatic, belt drive
Power: 42bhp at 4,900rpm
Torque: 62Nm at 1,500rpm
0-100kmh: 6.5 seconds
Top speed: 120kmh
Power consumption: 7.7kWh/100km
Agent: BMW Motorrad Singapore