A new patent reveals that BMW Motorrad is beginning to look at the idea of an electric motorcycle but with a bit of a twist. The news follows hot on the heals of Polaris purchasing Brammo’s electric motorcycle business. This is by no mean’s BMW’s first foray into battery powered two wheelers. In fact, the BMW C Evolution was the first electric scooter from any of the major motorcycle manufacturers. The trouble for a company like BMW Motorrad however is that they’ve got a lot of history with the design of their machines – the flat-twin boxer configuration has been used by the company since 1932.
Uncovered by AMCN, the patent shows that BMW is thinking about using a twin electric motor design, with each motor protruding horizontally either side of the bike much like a boxer twin. They’re connected to a central transmission unit where power is transferred via a shaft drive to the rear wheel – another typical BMW design element.
While designing a twin electric engine arrangement gives an obvious nod to BMW Motorrad’s traditional gas powered setup, the patent goes on to explain that it provides some practical benefits too. First of all, it would allow only one motor to function if required (say cruising down the highway or riding down a hill, much like cylinder displacement on some V8’s) which reduces unnecessary friction (and therefore improves electrical efficiency). Secondly, two flat horizontal motors means the center of gravity is lowered.
A patent most certainly does not indicate that BMW is close to releasing an electric powered bike or that it has any plans to do so for many years. But with Polaris making a big move and even the likes of Harley-Davidson going down the electric path, it wouldn’t be surprising to see BMW be one of if not the first major motorcycle manufacturer releasing an electric bike.