Paul Blezard gets to grips with the technology of the BMW i3 in a traffic-busting two-wheeled package, with scorching acceleration.
I wonder how many Autovolt readers are aware that BMW have been selling an all-electric super scooter for more than three years? Not many, I’ll wager, at least in the UK, because BMW UK has done precious little to promote the C evolution, as it is called. It uses the same technology as the i3 in a much smaller package, but with the same addictive advantages of electric power – neck-jerking acceleration thanks to maximum torque from zero revs. Yet even when BMW had no fewer than nine of these machines carrying marshals in the 2015 London Marathon none of the millions watching realised that they were seeing the most powerful electric scooter that money could buy gliding silently alongside the elite runners, and UK sales barely exceeded a baker’s dozen. In Paris, on the other hand, helped by the more lenient French licensing rules, the C evolution was outselling BMW’s ton-up 650cc petrol-powered maxi-scooters that year and out-accelerating them from the traffic lights with a 0-50kph time of 2.8 seconds and 0-100kph in 6.2.
Yet even at a 2014 launch price of £13,500 in the UK the C evolution had two completely unpublicised attributes which should have been helping to boost sales: it was, and remains, the only BMW you can ride alone on L-plates with nothing more than a one-day Compulsory Basic
Training (CBT) assessment. And (due to a weird quirk in the EU’s EV legislation) … it actually has more than three times the power of any petrol-powered learner legal two-wheeler available!
Now, in 2017, there’s more good news. After six years of lobbying, and a lot of frustrating delays, the government has finally implemented the long-promised Plug-In Motorcycle Grant, (analogous to the electric car grant which has been running since 2011). This reduces the price of approved electric motorcycles and scooters by £1,500 or 20% (whichever is less).
And best of all, BMW has released a second, upgraded version of this electric superscoot called the C evolution Plus, with nearly double the range of the original machine and a slightly higher top speed. Yet thanks to the new grant it’s more than a thousand pounds cheaper than the original version, which now costs £2,600 less than it did three years ago!
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KYOSHO BMW X7
1:18 | $160 no. K08951PBL
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