BMW released its second electric scooter earlier this year in the CE 04and has clearly indicated its intention to produce more electric two-wheelers in the near future. Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of BMW AG, recently went so far as to say that BMW Motorrad will introduce a new electric two-wheeler every 18 to 24 months, with the next model expected to arrive in 2023.
While the first models will be scooters or “urban mobility vehicles”, BMW should eventually add electric motorcycles to its range. The company has already registered several trademarks for the names DC 01 to DC 09 for use with motorcycles, in the hope that they will be electric.
And now, thanks to a recently published patent application, we have proof that BMW is working on an electric motorcycle that borrows a key element from its heritage: a boxer engine.
We’ve already seen an example of an electric BMW Boxer when he revealed the Concept Vision DC Roadster (picture above). Presented as a design exercise, the concept was not intended to become a production model but rather to explore how BMW could produce an electric motorcycle that would stay true to the brand’s tradition.
The concept had a large battery that made up most of the chassis with two cooling elements protruding from either side, giving it the same general shape as a BMW Boxer engine. Instead of two opposed engine cylinders, the Vision DC Roadster had the side members housing cooling ribs and fans. The protruding elements were even movable, designed to extend slightly when the engine is started.
While the concept was not intended for production, the idea of having a battery and its cooling elements forming the shape of a Boxer engine remained with BMW, as revealed in the new patent application.
The patent describes a CPU case with two protruding cooling elements that form a shape resembling a boxer engine. Unlike the Vision DC Roadster, these elements are fixed heat sinks made of aluminum and covered with cooling fins, resembling the cylinders of an air-cooled boxer engine.
One of the “cylinders” would house components such as the inverter and load electronics. The other would contain parts of an internal liquid cooling system for the battery and motor. With this arrangement, the two protruding elements would be cooled by the airflow of the moving motorcycle, in the same way that the cylinder of a boxer engine is cooled.
Much of the patent describes the size and positioning of the two “cylinders”. The overall width of each “cylinder” (BK in Fig 2) is about 40-50% the width of the width of the central body (Bg). In total, this body forms about 75% of the maximum width of the motorcycle measured by its handlebars (BM in Figure 1 above).
The protrusions would each be about a third of the height of the main body and would be positioned at about the same height as the cylinders of a Boxer. This would put them in a similar position in front of a rider’s legs and at a height that would provide enough ground clearance for a decent lean angle.
If the patent results in a production model (which in itself is not certain), BMW would have an electric motorcycle that pays homage to its past and its signature Boxer engine.
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