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BMW resurrects the C1

Tue, 06 Oct 2009

BMW has resurrected the C1 as an electrically powered concept. It is part of a broad-based safety project conducted in cooperation with the European Union under the working title eSUM (European Safer Urban Motoring).

The roofed scooter, which originally went on sale across Europe with a gasoline engine in 2000, was once touted by BMW as the future of urban mobility. It has a sturdy steel frame and an integrated seat belt, which allowed the rider the freedom of going without a helmet under strict European Union road-safety regulations. But after early quality problems and a lackluster 12,614 sales, the C1 was pulled from production in 2002 just as scooter sales across Europe began to boom.

Although not planned for production in its current form, the C1 E--as BMW has christened its latest single-track concept--is among a group of new urban vehicles that BMW is considering for the showroom as part of its MegaCityVehicle project. That project aims to take on Daimler’s struggling Smart division with a range of affordable city-oriented vehicles in both two- and four-wheeled forms.

Powering the C1 E is a 27-hp brushless electric motor that uses energy supplied by a plug-in 125-volt lithium-ion battery pack capable of generating 3.67 kilowatt-hours of electricity. The system is supplied by U.S.-based company Vectrix and has been enhanced by various components from BMW’s EfficientDynamics program.

No performance claims for the C1 E have been made public. BMW officials contacted by AutoWeek suggest it will hit 50 mph in less than seven seconds and reach a top speed of 62 mph. Maximum range between recharging is estimated at about 55 miles.

By Greg Kable