September 19, 2021
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BMW unveils 60 km/h (37 mph) electric bicycle with 300 km (186 mi) range

BMW has taken to the IAA Mobility show in Munich, Germany, to unveil two new electric motorbikes with interesting specs for their categories. Both have the same performance figures, making for a high-speed electric bicycle and a low-speed electric motorbike.

The two models were technically unveiled by different divisions of BMW.

BMW unveiled the i Vision AMBY, which is a high-speed electric bicycle.

The company’s motorcycle division, BMW Motorrad, unveiled the Vision AMBY. That little “i” makes a big difference.

The i Vision AMBY may technically fall in the electric bicycle category, but it shares very little with its e-bike brethren. The frame uses similar suspension components to other high-end bicycles and what appears to be a Gates carbon belt drive, but the electronics appear to be entirely custom.

A higher-power motor and gigantic 2,000 Wh battery enable it to reach much higher speeds in its highest setting. That big battery also has BMW making lofty range claims of up to 300 km (186 miles) in its lowest power mode.

Using an accompanying smartphone app, riders can choose between the European legal 25 km/h (15.5 mph) speed, a second speed-pedelec mode that reaches 45 km/h (28 mph), and a new high-speed-pedelec mode that ups the ante to 60 km/h (37 mph). BMW even floated the idea of having those speeds be modifiable in real time based on geo-fencing, meaning you could be slowed down automatically when you hit the city center, then unleashed to your top speed once turning onto a larger road.

Don’t get too excited though – you’ll need to register the bike and get a special license plate to use it on public roads in anything other than the slowest mode.

This also isn’t an electric motorcycle in disguise. Those pedals are for more than show; they are required to power the motor. Without a hand throttle, riders will have to continue pedaling constantly to achieve and maintain the bike’s high speeds. The range rating also drops significantly to just 75 km (47 miles) when traveling at 60 km/h (37 mph).

The highest speed mode certainly doesn’t fit into any current legal designation for electric bicycles though.

BMW clarified further, saying:

“In the absence of any existing legal framework for a vehicle of this kind with a modular speed concept, the “AMBY” Vision Vehicles set out to prompt the introduction of such legislation and, by consequence, developments of this nature.”