Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), the world’s biggest maker of luxury cars, will let selected London Olympics visitors drive prototype electric scooters during the games as it accelerates expansion of its two-wheeler lineup.
The C Evolution model is being introduced in the U.K. capital today at the start of a Europewide promotional tour planned for the rechargeable scooters that BMW is targeting for sale in two years, the Munich-based manufacturer said.
“We plan to bring the scooter in a very similar form to market in 2014,” Rudolf-Andreas Probst, a spokesman for BMW’s motorcycle division, said in an e-mail. “Beforehand, we need to clarify some technical and marketing aspects.”
The company, which owns the BMW and Husqvarna motorcycle brands, is adding to a line that it revived earlier this month with the market introduction of two gasoline-powered scooters. The C Evolution will be equipped with the same lithium-ion electricity-storage modules that BMW plans to use in the i3 four-seat compact car going on sale in late 2013.
BMW will offer C Evolutions for use as shuttle vehicles by journalists covering the Summer Olympics as well as by unspecified “VIPs” and the carmaker’s employees, Probst said today in an interview. BMW will have its own charging stations for the scooters in London, though the version that goes on sale will be equipped to use regular household sockets, he said.
The company is looking at cooperating with car-sharing and vehicle-rental companies to add the C Evolution to their fleets during the model’s test phase, BMW said.
Motorcycle dealers in Europe began offering BMW’s C600 sport and C650 GT maxiscooters this month, and the models will go on sale elsewhere later this year, the carmaker said June 18. The company is targeting 10,000 deliveries a year of the two scooters combined as of 2013, Heiner Faust, head of sales at BMW’s motorcycle unit, said in an interview earlier this month. BMW ended production of its enclosed C1 scooter nine years ago.
The C Evolution, with a range of 100 kilometers (60 miles) and a top speed of 120 km per hour, is part of BMW’s effort to develop low-emission models both for urban use and enjoyable driving. The carmaker is positioning the battery-powered i3 as a city car, and is developing a plug-in hybrid supercar, the i8, scheduled to go on sale in two years.
The electric scooter will compete with a model that Daimler AG (DAI)’s Smart city-car brand also plans to put on sale in 2014. Smart already offers an electric-powered bicycle for 2,849 euros ($3,500) in Germany that will come to the U.S. next year.
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