We Won’t See an Electric BMW Motorcycle for Some Time

If you were anxious to get your hands on a BMW electric motorcycle, you’re going to have to wait. 

Despite revealing the electric Vision DC Roadster in June of 2019, it appears the German company isn’t putting electric bikes at the top of their priority list. In an interview with Cycle World, CEO of BMW Motorrad Markus Schramm said it might be at least five years before they put a new electric motorcycle on the road.

Hitting the Brakes

The head of BMW referenced the Vision DC Roadster when mentioning that the company believes electric bikes will be an important undergoing in the future. Even so, Schramm continued to say it could be half a decade before they produce an electric motorcycle for use within cities.

Five years is quite a long time to wait, and that only refers to urban bikes. Schramm’s statement indicated that he was uncertain about the future of electric bikes for touring, sports and off-roading. These remarks are somewhat surprising, given that BMW has already unveiled electronic concepts. Furthermore, the manufacturer already has an electric scooter on the market, known as the C Evolution. 

The State of Electric Bikes Today

This pause in pursuing electric motorcycles is even more curious when you consider the competition. Harley-Davidson has already begun selling their first electric bike, the LiveWire. The LiveWire boasts a near-silent ride, instant throttle response, and an estimated range of 110 miles. For comparison, the BMW C Evolution scooter claims a range of up to 99 miles.

While BMW appears to be in no hurry to actually release an electric motorcycle, a couple of the electrical concepts they have come up with include: 

  • A wireless charging system: Recently, the company filed a patent for a wireless charging system using the kickstand. Whether this means that they are revamping their efforts in the realm of all-electric motorcycles is unclear, but unlikely given Schramm’s comments.
  • E-Power Roadster Concept: In December of 2019, the company revealed the E-Power Roadster Concept, an electric sports bike. This will likely not be the first electric bike released by BMW, as Schramm remained ambiguous about the viability of electric sport and off-road motorcycles. 

The Future of BMW Motorcycles

Further in the Motor World interview, Schramm reaffirmed that urban mobility is the main focus of their electric pursuits. The BMW CEO indicated optimism about the future of electric motorcycles, claiming he was confident that they would become increasingly important within cities.   

In the same statements, Schramm reemphasized the five-year waiting period before we’ll see a proper BMW electric bike. This might signal that the manufacturer is switching gears — moving from high-power sportbikes like the Vision DC Roadster and E-Power Roadster to focus on motorcycles for city use. Or it could signal that BMW does not consider electric bikes to be a priority.

It’s difficult to say with confidence what the company’s motivations are. Whatever the reasons may be, what we do know is that BMW electric motorcycles will still likely be a long way off.

The 15 Best BMW Commercial Ads of the Decade

The 2010s were a big decade for BMW that saw some major firsts — like the first fully electric models to come to market — and the 100th anniversary of the company’s founding. Over these last 10 years, the German automaker also produced a lot of ads — a few of which stood out more than others.

Here is our roundup of the 15 best BMW commercials of the decade.

15. Are We There Yet?

This ad from 2019 is a look back through time at some of the highlights of BMW, like the first electric version, the M1 and the company’s 2014 design for the U.S. bobsledding team. The commercial also looks to the future and drops some visuals of what to expect in the next decade.

14. BMW X5: The Back-Backseat Driver

This humorous ad from BMW is all about the X5, an SUV big enough to fit both backseat drivers and back-backseat drivers — like the grandmother featured in the commercial, who tells slightly exaggerated stories about her past.

13. The Destination

One of the many BMW ads to play on memory and nostalgia, this commercial — created for the 2017 Road Home sales event — shows the kinds of memories you can make in a BMW, or, how it’s not all about the destination.

12. Like New Again

Many of BMW’s ads toward the end of the decade had the company looking backward for inspiration. One of the best examples of this is the ads from the Like New Again campaign. It riffed off of six years’ worth of BMW commercials and ads — TV spots, radio ads and flyers — to promote certified preowned BMWs.

The campaign was clever, but maybe a little too self-aware for its own good.

11. Mini 2016 Super Bowl Spot

This Super Bowl Spot, the last we’ve seen so far from BMW, promotes the label-defying Mini. The ad is probably best remembered for its interesting celebrity lineup, which included appearances from Serena Williams, T-Pain, Harvey Keitel and Tony Hawk.

10. BMW i3: Newfangled Idea

Another ad playing off the newness of electric vehicles, this Super Bowl Spot from 2015 brought together former “Today” show hosts Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel. They compared the launch of EVs to other new ideas, like the internet back in the ‘90s, with the tagline, “big ideas take a little getting used to.”

9. BMW and Spotify Collab

In 2019, BMW teamed up with Spotify to curate the perfect BMW-themed driving playlists. All in all, the company put together enough music to back 85 hours of driving. The collaboration also included unique, in-app visuals from New Zealand artists designed to be paired with the music.

8. This BMW Drunk Driving PSA

This print PSA from BMW about drunk driving created a lot of buzz, for better or worse, and briefly reignited the conversation around social drinking and drunk driving.

7. BMW i: Drive the Future

One of the biggest developments of the past decade was the rise and regular advertisement of electric vehicles. This ad, from late 2018, uses slick, glossy visuals and a sophisticated voice-over to associate BMW’s line of hybrids and all-electric vehicles with the future.

6. BMW Accelerate

This bold print ad campaign from BMW South Africa takes full advantage of some gorgeous wide shots to show the kind of distance you can cover with a BMW S 1000 RR motorcycle. This bike accelerates from 0 to 100 in just three seconds.

5. BMW’s Crying Billboard

This innovative ad uses a unique billboard design that captures rain and causes the face on the advertisement to start crying. It may be a bit of a stretch to call the billboard effective — it’s not exactly clear what’s being advertised, other than BMW — but it is certainly different.

4. BMW’s Night Vision Billboards

This spot is definitely the highest-tech ad on the list, and possibly one of the highest-tech campaigns you’ve probably ever seen.

BMW wanted to reduce the number of crashes caused by wildlife on remote Austrian roads. It designed a night-vision billboard, based on the same tech used by its cars’ night-vision cameras, to help drivers spot deer planning to cross the highway.

According to BMW, not a single crash happened while the boards were up.

3. Retrospect

To celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary, BMW commissioned this nostalgic ad about the past — and how, as it says, “Memories never age.”

2. BMW X7: Legend

This spot, one of the last few of the decade, used lush storybook and fantasy visuals to show off the X7, BMW’s 2019 full-size luxury SUV. It’s probably the most dense and complicated BMW ad of the 2010s, and one of the brand’s few ads to rely heavily on CGI.

1. The Small Escape

The Small Escape was one of the last BMW ads of the decade and almost certainly the most cinematic. The commercial, which is better described as a short film, is a dramatized retelling of escape from East to West Berlin using a classic 1955 BMW Isetta — a 13-horsepower car that could barely seat two passengers.

The short film also hooked into a larger ad campaign, including an article that tells the full story of the escape.

Rounding up BMW’s Best Ads From the 2010s

The last decade has been big for BMW. Over the past 10 years, the company used most of its advertising to look back to the company’s past but also to look forward to new technology, like electric vehicles.

Now, there’s no telling where the brand will go in the 2020s. If they’re anything like the 2010s, though, BMW will be looking for ways to advertise both its history and its future.