Designs filed with the European Patent Office show an electric BMW scooter with a removable roof, seat belts and airbags.

A scooter with a roof? Haven’t we seen one of them before? Wasn’t that a BMW too? Correct on all counts, the short-lived BMW C1 was pitched as the scooter of the future at its launch – but limited success resulted in just three years of production from 2000 to 2003, before the concept was canned. Until now.

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The patents show a machine remarkably similar to the previous generation C1. The patents (and their accompanying information) reveal that the roof could be constructed from carbon fibre (rigid, lightweight – but expensive) – and sit on an aluminium platform.

Weight was one of the big issues for the first generation C1. It tipped the scales at 185kg (without fuel) – which was always going to make it a bit to portly for its 125cc single-cylinder motor. The slightly, larger capacity C1 200 got a 176cc motor – which helped to improve acceleration slightly, but sadly made only a marginal difference to top speed.

Interestingly, the patents show that entire roof structure will be easy to remove. Perfect for city commuting in the week with the roof on and weather protection in place – you’d then be able to whip the roof off and go for a spirited weekend ride, unencumbered by the additional weight.

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Chances are BMW would use a bike from its current line-up as a base – and the C Evolution e-scooter is surely the obvious choice. For reference, it kicks out 48hp, will reach speeds of 80mph and has a range of around 100 miles.

It seems that BMW’s getting pretty serious about relaunching the C1. The first patent was filed in 2019, but with 15 new patents for individual elements since, it looks like we should expect to see this thing on the road in the not too distant future.

Ross Mowbray

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