Two new BMW eBike concepts were unveiled at this week’s IAA Mobility show in Munich, Germany, and they’re raising a few eyebrows along with some interesting questions.
The first, a pedal-powered e-bike called the “i Vision AMBY” pictured above, packs a 2,000 Wh battery and a mid-mounted electric motor which work together with a belt drive system to propel the AMBY up to 37 mph in its highest power setting. And while that’s certainly a healthy speed for a pedal-powered bike to hit, it’s not the speed that’s raising eyebrows.
What’s drawing attention is BMW’s proposal of automatically governing the speeds of its new electric bikes using geofencing technology.
Technically, the i Vision AMBY concept has three power modes available through its linked smartphone app: A 15.5 mph setting design (which complies with current European electric cycle laws), the full speed 37mph mode mentioned above, and one falling in the middle at about 28 mph. BMW is suggesting the possibility of limiting your speeds in certain places (like busy downtown centers) to comply with local laws.
The concept is being explored in the name of safety: Metropolitan areas are hearing more and more complaints concerning the growing performance of electric bicycles. Riding a bicycle in downtown traffic is dangerous enough… Riding one at 50mph through downtown traffic, on the other hand, is bound to inspire some legal regulations. Especially if you’re flying down sidewalks or through red lights like we cyclists have a tendency to do when it suits us (maybe you don’t… just speaking from experience here).
Concerning the automatic speed regulations, BMW released the following statement:
“In the absence of any existing legal framework for a vehicle of this kind with a modular speed concept, the ‘AMBY’ Vision Vehicles set out to prompt the introduction of such legislation and by consequence developments of this nature.”
We can’t help but be a little wary of the idea, as it’s essentially the first step in the kind of legislation that would apply the same rules to cars or (god help us) motorcycles. Yes, it’s the law, and we understand that but… No one is buying a 180 horsepower Triumph T1E in 2023 to see how fast they can get up to posted speed limit… Just saying.
The other BMW ebike at the show was actually unveiled by BMW’s motorcycle division (BMW Motorrad) and looks like an offroad motorcycle/mountain bike hybrid similar to a Stealth B52 or SurRon X.
Actual facts and figures of the new electric motorcycle are few and far between (BMW hasn’t even confirmed details on the battery at this point) other than the new motorcycle (currently called the Vision AMBY… Same name, minus the “i”) will likely share the same 37 mph top speed, prompting us to wonder exactly what this new motorcycle might really be good for.
Judging by the current photos BMW has released, we can assume that the AMBY should have some off-road chops judging by its Maxxis Minion-esque front rubber (we also spot a Cane Creek DB Kitsuma Air rear shock on the rear) and is designed to appeal to individuals who make questionable fashion choices, as you’ll see below.