BMW’s E-Bike Concept Wants to Rise Above Congestion. Literally.

Say adieu to exhaust fumes, sound pollution and traffic jams - could the city of the future look something like this?

BMW's Vision E3 Way concept proposes an 'elevated, electric and efficient' solution to urban congestion and cyclist safety.

Autor*in Mark Newton, 12.06.17

Translation Mark Newton:

Car manufacturer BMW recently announced an ambitious new concept aimed at revolutionising urban mobility. Dubbed Vision E3 Way, the concept imagines emission-free elevated roads designed to be used solely by electric bikes, motorcycles and scooters.

The paths, which will typically be built over existing roads, will reportedly boast a variety of features designed to give e-bikers a safer, more comfortable ride. In the initial concept developed by BMW’s Shanghai Technology Office, future users would enjoy roofing over the routes, as well as more high-tech features including a rainwater recycling temperature control system, AI-managed traffic system and an automatic speed limit of 15.5MPH.

BMW were also eager to espouse the environmental benefits of their proposal, suggesting it would help eliminate congestion and emissions as well as make e-biking more attractive to urban commuters. This new increase in demand for e-bikes would be catered for via frequent pit stops allowing riders to easily rent e-vehicles and conveniently charge their personal vehicles.

What’s more, they claim this utopian electric dream is achievable at a modest price thanks to its simple, modular and economical design.

A Vision for Success

The impetus behind the project is clear, with cyclists and motorcyclists often facing dangerous and stressful commutes alongside cars, buses and pedestrians. This is especially true in China where an increase in car ownership, urban migration and pollution has clashed with the country’s traditional penchant for cycling. Indeed, it appears that the Vision E3 is most likely being aimed towards Asian markets, with China in particular currently undergoing an electric vehicle boom.

Elsewhere, however, BMW’s Vision E3 is likely to conjure up some skeptical looks, especially regarding the feasibility of its implementation in older, crowded and convoluted cities. Despite BMW’s somewhat blasé claims about its cost and simplicity, it’s hard to imagine its city-wide introduction as being anything but costly, disruptive and complex. SkyCycle, a planned elevated cycle path in London, was recently price-tagged at 10.7 billion USD, and that’s without many of E3’s futuristic accoutrements.

Ultimately, however, BMW’s concept is a clear step in the direction of a burgeoning e-mobility revolution defined by efficient AI managed systems and electric vehicle sharing schemes.

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