BMW Motorrad has been playing around with new electric two-wheeler designs for a while now and has been steadily expanding its portfolio with models like the CE-02 e-bike or the futuristic-looking CE-04 electric scooter.
Going by patent filings, a new electric scooter might be in the works. The new design is a light two-wheeler of the standing variety with a folding mechanism. Since this is just a patent for the moment, the scooter doesn't have a name yet, being filed under the "Electric Small-Sized Vehicle" denomination.
The patent drawings show that, apart from the typical handlebar folding system, the compact two-wheeler will have an innovative rear wheel folding mechanism. Most folding scooters on the market come with a one-step fold mechanism to make them portable and easier to carry around. BMW's model is a bit different because, in addition to the handlebar stem folding point, it has a second axle in front of the rear wheel. But the wheel doesn't simply fold over the footboard to create a more compact package. Instead, the floorboard appears to pivot up and out of the way to allow for the rear wheel to swing under and through the center of the frame.
According to the patent, the electric scooter has "a rear wheel, a frame, a support with a footboard and a wheel folding mechanism. The support includes a rear support section connected to the rear wheel, a front support section connected to the frame, and a receiving area for the rear wheel. [...] In the folded position, the rear wheel is positioned in an inner position where the rear wheel is at least partly arranged within the receiving area."
Interestingly, even in a folded position, the rear wheel can still roll, which could make it easier to maneuver the scooter on public transport, for instance, as the user wouldn't have to actually carry it.
The clever folding mechanism creates a lot of compactness (maybe between 30 and 40 cm/ 12 and 16 inches). Though the patent doesn't mention the exact dimensions of the scooter, it will certainly be an even more compact platform compared to other folding e-scooters on the market, which can prove highly effective in the urban mobility environment. The handlebar is also a bit different, boasting a two-piece design that flows up from the front wheel and allows for quick and easy folding.
The e-scooter will be powered by an electric hub motor on the front wheel. The patent reveals power won't exceed 500 watts or "1400 watts if at least 60 percent of the power is used for self-balancing." However, it's not clear if BMW plans to include any self-balancing tech on this mobility device. No details on top speed, range, or weight are revealed.
As enticing as this design might seem, we should keep in mind that this is just a patent, so we can't tell for sure if BMW has plans to bring such an electric scooter to the market. However, since the previous BMW-branded scooters were collaborations with other manufacturers like ZEG or Micro Mobility, this patent at least shows what the carmaker can do when it is actually involved in the design process.