2018 Bmw c evolution review another car blog electricity cost per kwh by country


When it comes to two-wheeled practicality in an urban environment, it’s hard to beat a scooter. Perhaps that is why, in much of the world, you’ll see cities crawling with them. Scooters are easy to maneuver, easy to park, and most offer some cargo carrying capacity. They’re perfect for commuting or running out to pick up some groceries.

BMW has classified its three scooter models as urban mobility vehicles, with the C Evolution being the company’s only electric entry in the category. Outwardly, the C Evo resembles its closest sibling the BMW C 650 GT in many ways, but the similarities are only skin deep.

The C Evolution is a different scooter from the ground up. Instead of a tubular steel frame, the chassis is the die-cast aluminum casing that houses the batteries. Inside the casing are three battery modules, and each of these modules consists of 12 lithium-ion cells – the same ones used in BMW’s i3 car. Although the C Evolution has been available overseas for several years, it is finally arriving Stateside with batteries that were recently updated to 94 Ah from 60 Ah, delivering a claimed range of 99 miles per charge.

As with all electric vehicles, the motor’s full torque is immediately available with a twist of the throttle. In the case of the C Evo, that means a rider has instant access to a claimed 53 lb-ft of torque, which is capable of propelling the scooter from 0-30 mph in 2.8 seconds. This is more than enough to pull away from all but the most aggressive traffic around town. (Just for a quick comparison, the C 650 GT produces a claimed 60 hp and 49 lb-ft of torque compared to the C Evolution’s 48 hp and 53 lb-ft.)

This prompted me to switch over to Sail mode, which lets the scooter freewheel when the throttle is rolled off. The tradeoff being that no electricity is generated, leaving the battery to run entirely on its contents until the brakes were applied. This suited my city riding style of accelerating away from lights and coasting like I would a two-stroke until it was time to brake.

Once I took a few extended rides on the highway and on winding roads, I began to appreciate Dynamic mode. Where I’d been looking for consistent “engine braking” when the throttle was rolled off, I soon discovered I could tune the amount of deceleration by progressively rolling the throttle off. Essentially, I controlled braking that the regeneration applied with my throttle-hand without touching the brakes themselves. If I needed to slow down slightly for a corner, I just dipped out of the neutral throttle zone. A tighter corner received a more aggressive roll-out of the throttle. I had so much fun doing this that I ended up trying it on the Interstate to similar results. Lesson learned.

The C Evo’s other two modes are Road and Eco Pro. Road is what the engineers must have thought of as the normal mode. The throttle response isn’t as sprightly and the regeneration not as aggressive. In other words, I rarely used it since Dynamic and Sail covered the types of riding I like to do. Eco Pro is designed to help the rider eek out as much mileage as possible from the battery’s charge. Power off the line is drastically reduced, and top speed is limited to 65 mph. Since Eco Pro made pulling away from stops tedious, I only used it when the battery got low and I was concerned about making it to a charging station.

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but around my slice of Southern California, Level 2 charging stations are popping up like mushrooms. Within a mile radius of my house, the city installed two stations to the north and a mall has two Level 2 stations (plus a DC fast charger) to my southwest. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they are frequently occupied. So, despite the growth in EV infrastructure, it is nowhere near as ubiquitous as the corner gas station. Only once, when I really wanted to top off my charge, could I not find an available charging station. Still, it is frustrating to have to go to a couple locations to charge.

For my thinking, it’s not a big deal. Because of their limited range, EVs are mostly used for short-hop, everyday type chores, like commuting to an office or running errands around town. (Full disclosure, my wife and I have owned a VW e-Golf for the past couple years and have gone through the mental adjustment that is currently necessary for using an EV.) In my typical day, I never came close to using BMW’s claimed 99 mile range on city streets. In my case (since I work at home), I mostly ran errands with my average trip being less than 10 miles. With that kind of use, I could go a week without charging if I had to.

Since I have a Level 2 charging station at my house, I was able to verify that BMW’s claims of over nine hours on a 110 V outlet and half that on a 220 V charging station were accurate. In either case, charging overnight makes the most sense if you have a fully drained battery.

I did, however, attempt the completely unfair test I’ve applied to every e-motorcycle I’ve reviewed: I took it for a ride in the mountains – a trip that involves a short highway trip and extended uphill sections on winding mountain roads (meaning lots of acceleration and deceleration). Since the trip down the mountain uses very little battery, I make the turn-around point when the battery reaches 40%. Although the C Evolution didn’t make it to my goal in this torture test, it did make it farther than any other electric bike I’d tested up to that point. I was even able to make it back home on that 40% charge with a few percentage points to spare after a round trip of around 40-50 miles. Everywhere else, it’s a maxi-scooter

While the C Evo’s chassis is constructed around the battery box, it carries its weight and handles like the BMW C650GT we’ve tested in the past even with the all-new chassis. As noted before, the bike weighs in at a claimed 606 lb., and that ain’t light. Once underway, the C Evo hides its weight remarkably well. The only time that the weight becomes an issue is when the rider is pushing the C Evo or it tilts off-center at a stop – a problem exacerbated by the 30.1-inch seat height and the scooter’s width between the rider’s legs.