BMW CE 04 Production for 2022
BMW must be applauded for daring to produce such a dramatic electric motorcycle. The BMW CE 04 not only looks amazing, but works and provides real competition to the combustion engine. Money no object, I’d recommend the CE 04 over any petrol-powered equivalent and it’s available in dealers from March 2022.
The BMW is more fun than a traditional maxi scooter – thanks to its rapid, silent acceleration – and the slim design makes it easier to commute through clogged urban traffic. It also comes with a reverse gear, and is packed with style and tech. It’s a masterpiece of style and engineering.
Ride quality & brakes
Weight is down compared to the older C-Evolution scooter, which at 275kg desperately needed a diet. In fact, the BMW CE 04 has trimmed down to a respectable 231kg but is still 25-30kg heavier than a conventional petrol equivalent.
BMW has cleverly placed all those kilos low in the chassis, with the battery cells running horizontally mere inches above the road, which enables the CE 04 to feel much lighter than its on-paper weight suggests.
It flows, almost swings, through traffic. Narrower than a conventional scooter, especially at the rear, it’s easy to carve through rush hour traffic in perfect silence. The ride from the Showa suspension is a little firm, but the seat is comfier than it looks.
The twin discs do an excellent job of stopping the BMW CE 04, with the back brake lever on the left bar. I sometimes found myself using the strong engine braking in Eco mode more than the actual brakes, though.
The CE 04 is A2 compliant and can be restricted further for A1 licence holders. The 780mm seat is higher than BMW’s own C400X, but its thinness makes the CE 04 accessible for short riders, and a reverse gear comes as standard, which allows you to slowly crawl backwards. Those with small hands would benefit from span-adjustable levers.
Three riding modes come as standard along with ABS and traction control. Opt for the additional £380 Dynamic package and your CE 04 receives an additional riding mode, plus adaptive headlights and more advanced rider aids including lean-sensitive ABS and traction control.
The BMW CE 04 is as practical and usable as it is stylish. Technology and know-how have been shared across BMW platforms, with the CE-04 adopting modified, smaller versions of the car battery cells as used in the iX range – ensuring reliability and safety.
If you’re yet to ride an electric motorcycle, the initial sensation can feel a little like Bambi on Ice. This dissipates within a few hundred meters on the CE 04 though and once the full colour TFT dash shows you’re ‘ready’, you simply twist the throttle and go – like a silent conventional modern scooter.
The CE 04’s instantly accessible torque is not to be underestimated. Acceleration from a standstill is brisk to say the least, and out of town the BMW CE 04 is happy to whizz up to an indicated 60mph without hesitation.
This is a surprisingly quick commuter, though rapid acceleration and aggressive riding will reduce the claimed 80-mile range. Maximum output is just shy of 42bhp at 4900rpm; with a claimed top speed of 120kph/75mph. Nought to 31mph is achievable in 2.6 seconds and you’ll see 0-60mph in 9.1 seconds.
The all-important 100% charging time is four hours and 20 mins from a regular household socket or an hour and 40 minutes with an optional £850 fast charger. A 20% – 80% charge takes just 45 minutes with the fast charger or one hour 40 minutes from a regular household socket.
There is no lag or clutch delay, no build-up of revs. Instead there is instant torque and acceleration (peak torque is as just 1500rpm). As well as the three riding modes, our test scoot also had the optional Dynamic mode fitted.
Each mode has a different throttle response and engine brake strategy, which regenerates energy back to the battery. Eco, for example, is very soft, with maximum battery recuperation and strong engine braking, while Road delivers full acceleration and dramatically reduced engine braking and regeneration.
Dynamic mode gives enough oomph to embarrass most motorists from the lights, the traction control activating from time to time over slippery white lines and cats-eyes.
Reliability & build quality
Being so new, it’s very hard to comment on the reliability of the CE 04. That said, BMW boast a strong dealer network and impressive warranty cover. They have already heavily invested in this technology in their four-wheeled division and have previously produced electric motorcycles.
Owners’ reviews of the previous BMW C Evolution electric two-wheeler show nothing but praise, with an average of five stars awarded for reliability.
Value vs rivals
There is a hefty price to pay for BMW CE 04 ownership. It’s £11,700 for the base model or £13,930 for our highly spec’d test motorcycle. That’s more than double petrol equivalents, such as the £5850 Yamaha XMAX 300, and £6799 Suzuki Burgman 400.
BMW has led the way with the production of electric motorcycles – launching the C-Evolution back in 2014. They’ve now taken another significant leap forward with the dramatic CE 04 by letting the designers run wild – unconstrained by the conventions of traditional engine placement or exhaust routing. They’ve come up with something very special.
Love or hate it, it’s hard to argue that the CE 04 makes a very bold statement and boasts an impressive equipment list to boot.
Under the fixed seat is enough storage for a full-face helmet, which is neatly accessed from the side like a large pannier. Upfront there’s also an additional splash-proof storage compartment for a mobile phone, cooled by a separate electric fan to prevent overheating. Contact us to learn more about BMW news and rentals.
The ignition and storage compartments are all keyless and lock automatically as you leave the motorcycle. And the 10.25in TFT full-colour dash has connectivity, as well as integrated map navigation.