Electric concept bike is instantly recognisable as a BMW with its cooling elements mimicking the look of the boxer engine. Picture: SUPPLIED
Electric concept bike is instantly recognisable as a BMW with its cooling elements mimicking the look of the boxer engine. Picture: SUPPLIED

As electrified vehicles become ever more part of the vocabulary, BMW has delved into a battery-powered motorcycle future with its Vision DC Roadster concept bike.

Referring to it as a “highly emotional naked bike with electric drive”, BMW Motorrad has used the quintessential twin-cylinder boxer engine as a styling element to link modern technology with an iconic past.

"For more than 90 years, the boxer engine has been a key element of the BMW Motorrad identity, in both technological and visual terms,” says Edgar Heinrich, Head of Design BMW Motorrad.

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“But as the BMW Group consistently pursues electrification, the question arises as to what a BMW motorcycle might look like that is electrically powered? And how would it reveal itself at first sight to be a BMW? The Vision Bike shows how we’re able to retain the identity and iconic appearance of BMW Motorrad in distinctive form while at the same time presenting an exciting new type of riding pleasure.”

Anyone who’s ever ridden an electric bike will know how the high level of torque makes for breathtaking acceleration. BMW’s Vision DC Roadster puts a face to this experience.

Replacing what would previously have been the engine, there is now a vertically fitted, longitudinally oriented battery. For cooling purposes, two side elements protrude with cooling ribs and integrated ventilators.

As in the boxer petrol engine, the cooling elements are placed in the air stream. When starting the electric motor, these cooling elements move out slightly, indicating that the bike is ready to go.

The cylinder-shaped electric motor is positioned underneath the battery and is directly connected to the universal shaft, thus visually echoing the history of BMW Motorrad.

In the side view, the Vision DC Roadster has a low front section and short, high rear to convey a sense of agility. Instead of the fuel tank, a flat, finely-wrought tubular structure spans the vehicle.

The overall appearance conveys a sense of lightness so as to emphasise driving dynamics. Elements such as the seat and the cooling system appear to hover around the battery.

On the frame itself, lengthwise milled grooves create a fascinating visual effect. This impression is further underscored by means of openings in the milled aluminium frame and the tubular frame structure arranged above it. Hi-tech materials such as carbon fibre and aluminium reduce the overall weight.

Red contrast elements and brushed aluminium jazz up the styling, and the front and rear lights are LEDs.

BMW hasn’t quoted performance figures or the range, and nor has it said when it might start building an electric production bike.