The Vision AMBY is a slimline electric motorcycle | GRR – Goodwood Road and Racing
As electrification intensifies, the line between bicycles and motorcycles becomes further blurred. Take the Sur-Ron range, for example, or the Cake Kalk – incredibly lightweight electric bikes, where the handling of a mountain bike combines with the range of a motorcycle (and no pedals).
Now BMW is getting in on the action with its new Vision AMBY, one of five concept vehicles with which the group will demonstrate its perception for the future of urban mobility, digitalisation and sustainability at the IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich.
The Vision AMBY (shorthand for adaptive mobility) and the pedal-driven i Vision AMBY (more akin to an electric bicycle) are both powered by an unspecified electric motor, with
three defined speed brackets and a range of 110km (68miles). These are stored in the smartphone app (more on that later), and limit the vehicle to 15.5mph on cycle paths, 28mph on inner-city roads (at which point a helmet, a licence and registration plates are required) and 37mph on multi-lane roads and out of town. The speeds could both be manually selected, or automatically, thanks to geofencing technology included in the concept. In the latter case, the user would not be able to override the mode, while a digital display would replace the number plate, signalling the mode and speed limit selected to other road users.
With no precedent of such a modular speed system, BMW hopes that the Vision AMBY will prompt legislation, and discussion about its future potential.
The bike would be dependent on this new app, through which users could locate it, activate it, check charge status and also insure it in an on-demand fashion, when the higher-speed modes require. When mounted on the wireless charging holder, the smartphone would also act as the dash, displaying speed, navigation and other parameters.
Additional technological innovations could include an optimised ABS system, an automatic high beam or brake light assistant, daytime running lights and front and rear distance radar with a range of up to 140m.
In terms of design, the Vision AMBY looks more akin to a downhill mountain bike than it does a motorcycle, with a bicycle fork up front, compact chassis, single seat and large 26-inch front and 24-inch rear wheels. Chunky tyres, a conventional throttle. fixed seat height of 830mm and footrests mark it out as a motorcycle. At 65kg, it sits firmly between the two.
Significant attention has gone into the asymmetrical aesthetic, with a machine-like style substituting for visual working parts, and materials shared with other concepts making their debut at the show. The recycled plastic, aka ‘floating grey polymer’, as seen trimming the energy storage unit is also used in the bumper of the i Vision Circular, while the recycled plastic granulate used for the seat feature in the saddle of the BMW i Vision AMBY and the tyres of the BMW i Vision Circular. Meanwhile three small turquoise blue tubes visibly emerge from the silhouette, nodding towards its electric nature.
After that, I’m afraid the design becomes a little like a tacky poster or a teenager’s moodboard, complete with the coordinates of the BMW Motorrad Design Studio in Munich (where it was designed) and the letters ‘AMBY’ spelled in Morse code “but with dashes visualising the dots” (we don’t get it either).
Finally, a quote from Markus Schramm, Head of BMW Motorrad, reads: “Electro-mobility will be very significant for the future of motorcycling. We foresee a slew of upcoming products with a focus on electric propulsion, particularly in the field of urban mobility. And I’m not only thinking of classic scooters here, but also of alternative modern, emotional products. Electro-mobility on two wheels needs to be really fun and adventurous and BMW is committed to developing corresponding products.”
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