BMW's motorcycle design has always been based on the layout of the bike's powerplants, so the original machines' visual center was the low-slung horizontally opposed twin-cylinder engine, with the cylinder barrels jutting out each side of the bike.
The company thinks that future electric motorcycles should similarly underscore their power source, so the BMW Motorrad Concept Link looks almost scooter-like, with its batteries packed flat into the bike's bottom, its electric motor hidden in its rear wheel and the familiar gas tank nowhere to be found.
"The technical realities of electric drive – such as the flat energy packs in the underfloor and the compact drive on the rear wheel – allowed us to create a highly distinctive design which shapes a new segment," said Alexander Buckan, head of vehicle design at BMW Motorrad. "The resulting expressive power of the vehicle is absolutely new for BMW Motorrad and breaks with all conventional viewing patterns.”
That long, flat bench seat is adjustable, so you can stretch it out to carry more passengers. Having the batteries low in the frame keeps the center of gravity low for easy maneuverability around town.
Another trick: electricity flows both ways, so the Motorrad Concept Link can easily back out of parking spaces under engine power instead of the Flintstones' foot power required by virtually all gas-fueled motorcycles.
Another step away from The Flintstones and toward The Jetsons is the head-up display projected onto the windscreen that replaces the traditional motorcycle instruments mounted atop the steering fork.
The HUD shows speed, battery and navigation information, while a flat panel display mounted beneath the handlebars shows secondary information.
No doubt this combustion-free vision of the future will come true in many cities seeking to eliminate sources of air pollution. But don't hate us for still loving BMW's traditional look!