As a study for a safe urban motorcycling project, BMW Motorrad has resurrected their C1 covered two-wheeler for a one-off electric concept they call C1-E.
The C1-E was designed to highlight safety in low-emissions “single track“ vehicles designed for urban use. As such, it sports the same roll cage, seatbelt and windscreen as the erstwhile production C1. While BMW said that future single track production vehicles may feature low-emission gasoline engines or electric powerplants, the C1-e swaps the original C1’s Rotax 4-stroke gas engine in favor of a Vectrix electric motor and lithium-ion battery.
Like Arrested Development, the Apple Newton and Tom Waits, the original C1 was an oddball that didn’t quite fit in to an established category but still received critical praise. A sit-down scooter with a crumple zone and aluminum roll cage, the C1 was intended to entice minicar buyers with an even smaller alternative that offered the same level of crash protection as most European small cars. It didn’t quite turn out that way.
d=”more-13761″>Originally intended to be ridden without a helmet, the C1 turned into a sales flop after several European countries refused to exempt C1 riders from existing helmet laws. Despite the bike’s rollcage and studies that showed helmet-wearers who also used the C1’s integrated seatbelt had worse neck injuries in low-speed crashes, the UK government mandated helmet use. Sweden paradoxically required C1 riders to wear helmets but outlawed them from wearing seatbelts. Partially as a result of lost sales in the UK, the C1 was discontinued in 2002 and was never offered in the US.
The concept shown above will most likely never be seen in a showroom, but BMW hasn’t abandoned their interest in safe urban scooters. “This BMW Motorrad study is likely to remain the only model of its kind,” the company said in a statement. “Nevertheless, findings from the project will find their way into other future developments in the field of single-track vehicles.”
BMW will contribute the results of C1-E testing to the European Safer Urban Motorcycling (eSUM) program, a collaboration between BMW and Piaggio that’s active in cities where motorcycling is most prevalent and most dangerous. By making single track vehicles safer, eSUM hopes to further increase their popularity in order to decrease pollution and traffic congestion.
Photo: BMW Motorrad. The C1-E is an electric reinterpretation of the original C1 single track vehicle.
Originally posted 2009-11-14 11:15:32.