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|09-12-2015, 09:00 AM||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2008
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BMW e-Boxer | UP TO SPEED
Electric bikes have come a long way in the last few years, but they still struggle to match the aesthetics of a gas-powered machine—particularly without bodywork.
Electric motors are just boring to look at, and after more than a century of motorcycles designed to emphasize the mechanical beauty of their engines it’s hard to let go of that. But BMW’s latest development could be a solution to that issue.
The firm is already a leading light in the electric-bike movement as the only one of the established manufacturers to have an electric offering already on sale in the form of its C Evolution scooter. Its latest design reveals that it’s been working on an electric motorcycle that mimics the visual appeal of its traditional boxer-twin engines.
The idea is simply to attach two electric motors to a central transmission, with one poking out each side of the bike just like the cylinders on a boxer twin. The transmission rotates their drive by 90 degrees to allow the use of a shaft drive, again in conventional BMW style. To boost the look, and to take advantage of the fact the motors are hanging out of the sides of the bike, the patent indicates that air-cooled motors are likely to be used, complete with functional cooling fins on their aluminum cases, which would help complete the illusion.
If hiding cooling units or ECUs is an issue, expect a small upper fairing for the eBoxer.
As well as looking more interesting than a single-motor design, the BMW layout offers practical advantages. The two motors can be smaller than a single one while providing the same output, and they’ll have a lower center of gravity in this configuration. The design also suggests that when there’s relatively little load on the motors, the transmission could be arranged to allow one motor to disengage and stop entirely, reducing friction and helping improve the bike’s range compared to a single-motor layout.
The sketches accompanying the firm’s patent application are simplistic in the extreme, giving little clue as to the machine’s final look, but given its commitment to electric power, not just on the C Evolution but also on its i3 and i8 cars, it would be no surprise to see a BMW electric bike in prototype, or even production, form in the very near future.
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