BMW Motorrad CE 04: modern design and electric mobility

Innovative aesthetics and state-of-the-art technology for the new city scooter from the German firm. Here we describe its performance, its range and its speed

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The BMW CE 04 has two characteristics which are set to rouse interest among traditional motorcyclists: it is electric and has an innovative design. It should not be necessary to remind people, but this is a scooter, and therefore not a motorbike, nor has it been created as a substitute for one. To be precise, it is a city scooter, with a range of 130 km and it can be recharged reasonably quickly.

BMW Motorrad CE 04: modern designand electric mobility
BMW Motorrad CE 04: modern designand electric mobility

Futuristic silhouettes

Viewed from the front, the CE 04 boasts a nice modern muzzle but with a fairly traditional shape; seen from the side, though, everything is different: its profile is low and sleek; there is a long, narrow “floating” saddle; the rear wheel is cantilevered and lenticular; the fork and the brake are completely faired. The outfit is classy, the finishing touches are refined, the electric controls are top of the range and the dashboard stands out, a coloured 10.25” touch control screen, with connectivity and integrated maps (it uses the BMW Motorrad Connected App).

Excellent range for city use

The range is 130 km, which makes the CE 04 an ideal machine for city transport, and recharging times are not too long. The most logical and efficient recharging method is from 20 to 80%, which when using the (optional) rapid charger takes 45 minutes; from zero to 100%, using a normal domestic plug socket, on the other hand, you will need 4 hours and 45 minutes. This is a choice in line with the policy of BMW which has announced that in future for city travel it will only build electric vehicles.

Performance and top speed

As far as performance and weight are concerned, the CE 04 is comparable to a Maxi Scooter. It weighs 231 kg, the motor develops 42 HP and the top speed is 120 km/h. In comparison to its internal combustion engine rivals, it is notably quicker off the mark: although it has a power/weight ratio which is less favourable, it enjoys a major advantage from its electric motor, which has a remarkable level of torque, constantly on tap and able to reach its maximum value as soon as the motor starts turning. That said, Maxis will get the better of it subsequently; for example, they will reach 100 km/h more quickly and they also have a higher top speed, but these are attributes which are of no interest: the field of action for the CE 04 is the city.

A classic chassis, with custom-grade dimensions

In terms of its chassis, the CE 04 is relatively traditional: its frame is made of steel tubing, the fork is telescopic, the single swing arm activates the shock absorber directly; braking is entrusted to three 265mm discs (interior-mounted with a 4-piston caliper). The wheel rims are 15” and are fitted, amongst others, with Pirelli Diablo Rosso Scooter tyres with a generous cross-section (120/70 and 160/60), a choice which allows you to appreciate the true character of the CE 04: these are tyres suited to brilliant driving in a motorcycling style, and the double-compound formulation using a high percentage of silica brings together a reliable level of support, a high degree of grip in all conditions and an extended useful life.

Packed full of technology

As well as its profile, one special feature of the CE 04 is its chassis dimensions, which are almost those of a customised machine; in particular, its length. It is like this because its battery is long and flat, and basically replaces the footboard, and between this and the rear wheel lies the motor, a layout inherited from the prestigious BMW iX and i4 cars. From the cars is also derived the technology, which is at the basis of the motor, which is liquid-cooled, and of the central command console for the battery and the motor, which provides four driving styles: Eco, Rain, Road and Dynamic (the latter is optional). In addition there are all the usual bike electronic systems, such as ABS and stability control, which if so requested can also be of the type suited to cornering.

How does it drive in the city?

The CE 04 weighs roughly the same as a Maxi Scooter and is slightly longer, but is not particularly demanding during manoeuvres because its centre of gravity is low (the batteries are below the footboard) and there is even a reverse gear. In traffic it can accelerate with ease, and you do not notice the additional centimetres, but you do notice the “custom-built” set-up. Stability is excellent and for mixed riding the drive is enjoyable, precise, with fully rounded and intuitive trajectories, a harmonious marriage between chassis and tyres.

The electric motor provides an extraordinary experience. Above all it is silent (thanks also to the belt final drive) and there are absolutely no vibrations. This procures an extreme level of comfort, but its speciality is the stunning accelerations from traffic lights. The most enjoyable driving style is the Dynamic, which combines maximum acceleration with firm motor braking, allowing you to drive almost exclusively using the accelerator and to hit the brakes only when you actually need to stop.