The modern BMW started its career making motorcycles, then making cars, and now its motorcycle division has launched two-wheeled electric machines, which it claims are neither.
The CE 02 is an electric scooter with an 11kW version that requires a bike license and a 4kW version that does not require a bike license and can be ridden by 16-year-olds without a license in many countries.
BMW Motorrad insists it’s neither an e-scooter nor an e-motorcycle, but rather a short-wheelbase ‘e-parkourer’ city machine weighing 132kg.
The less powerful version of the CE 02 has a top speed of 45 km/h and a range of 45 km and is not at all capable of accelerating from zero to 50 km/h.
The hotter version has an output of 11 kW from the air-cooled synchronous motor, reaches 50 km/h in three seconds, has a top speed of 95 km/h and has an electric range of 90 km. Both versions have a torque of 55 Nm.
The small CE 02 peaks at 1000rpm (the same as its torque peak), but the big one needs 5000rpm to pull all 11kW, while both use two 2kWh lithium-ion batteries.
BMW Motorrad marketing director Ralf Rodepeter insisted it was significantly shorter than the CE 04 electric scooter or any other bikes the company was selling, giving it the agility and toughness it needed to ride easily in urban conditions .
“It’s not an e-scooter and it’s not a motorcycle yet,” he explained.
“It should allow us to attract new customers, especially as driving the 11kW version requires a driver’s license. However, we can take out a battery and have the 4kW version, so you can drive it without a license.”
However, there is a catch.
First, Rodepeter admitted that the CE 02 would cost about two-thirds of the €8,000 CE 04, so around €5,340 in Europe. By doing without the second battery and the 4 kW version, around €1,000 is saved.
So while it is envisaged that 16-year-olds will be allowed to drive to school by car, this only applies to a specific demographic of 16-year-olds.
Strangely, despite being a world bike, sold in Europe and North America, among other places, it violates Australian design rules, which mandate a dual-zone ABS. The CE 02 only uses ABS on the 239mm front disc brake system and therefore cannot be road legal there.
That’s a shame, because the CE 02 is an unconventional-looking beast with 14-inch die-cast alloy wheels, single-sided cast-aluminum rear suspension, swingarm, belt drive and tubular steel chassis.
The instrument layout consists of a pure 3.5 inch TFT screen that provides information on speed, battery charge, navigation and more. It has a USB-C socket for charging smartphones and there’s an app to show owners when it’s expected to finish charging.
This may take some time because although the rated power is 3.92 kWh/100km (or 1.96 kWh/100km for the 4kW version), the charging speed is not fast. The small battery version charges at 0.9 kW and the large battery version consumes electrons at 1.5 kW.
This means that the 11kW version takes 312 minutes to charge to 100% with the 0.9kW charger (210 minutes for the 1.5kW version) and in 168 minutes (102 minutes) from 20 to 80%. The 4kW version takes 182 minutes for a full charge or 85 minutes for 20-80%.
The basic black of the frame, wheels and front fascia is offset by a gunmetal gray engine cover, and for the Highline version there are anodized gold forks.
The size and chunky look combine to create a 1970mm long bike with a 1353mm wheelbase, 876mm width and 1140mm height with the seat height set at 750mm.
The 120/80 14 front tire and 150/70 14 rear tire are said to be as much about robustness and ride quality as grip, and BMW has also added automatic stability control and regenerative stability control, which also recuperates energy from the battery and provides torque reduction for Stability. There’s a mode to turn off regenerative braking and return to conventional braking, and even reverse assist.
The 11 kW version weighs 132 kg (the 4 kW CE 02 weighs 119 kg) but has a maximum permissible weight of 312 kg – i.e. 180 kg of driver and driver accessories.
But there is more for the driver: BMW has developed side bags and a top case for the CE 02.