BMW is presenting two concept electric two-wheelers at IAA Mobility: BMW i Vision AMBY, a high-speed pedelec and BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY, combining the benefits of a motorcycle with those of a bicycle. AMBY stands for “Adaptive Mobility”.
From the outside, the BMW i Vision AMBY looks similar to an e-bike, but it offers significantly more possibilities. The electric drive system comprises three speed stages for different road types: Up to 25 km/h for use on cycle paths, up to 45 km/h on inner-city roads and up to 60 km/h maximum speed on multi-lane roads and out-of-town. The speed modes available to the rider are stored on a smartphone app.
Manual selection of the speed level is conceivable, as is the automatic detection of position and road type by means of geofencing technology and the associated automatic adjustment of the maximum speed.
The battery is positioned in the center of the frame. Its 2,000 Wh enables a range of up to 300 km (186 miles), depending on the riding mode. With fast charging technology, it recharges in only three hours. The drive unit, which is positioned close to the pedals, only provides assistance when the pedals are being turned.
Power transfer is by low-maintenance toothed belt, and the transmission is integrated into the drive system. A single-sided swinging arm otherwise unique to BMW Motorrad links the rear wheel with the frame.
120 mm of suspension travel front and rear is ideal for all applications in and around town at speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph). The 27.5-inch wheels are fitted with larger and wider tires than normal in order to ensure exceptional comfort and safety even at higher speeds.
Users can prime the BMW i Vision AMBY for use, load their stored licence classes and apply the required level of insurance cover on demand using a specially developed app. The app therefore takes on the role traditionally performed by a vehicle key. It uses familiar smartphone identification functionality (e.g. facial recognition) in the same way as the Digital Key, which was introduced by the BMW Group in an automotive industry first and turns a compatible iPhone into a digital car key by allowing customers to unlock, lock and, of course, start their BMW safely and easily.
Other basic functions and status requests (e.g. the current and scheduled charge level) are also available, as when using the BMW app. The electrically adjustable seat post is optimized biometrically to match the profile stored in the app, with the settings adjusted according to pre-entered data—such as the height and inside leg measurement of the user—before setting off.
Over-the-air updates allow customers to download software updates and adjustments at any time. The smartphone shown on the Vision Vehicle charges inductively on the magnetic bracket low down in the rider’s field of view. These connectivity options also bring theft-proofing and the free programmable immobilizer as a basic function. The search function “Where is my BMW i Vision AMBY” is just a click on a smartphone away.
Geofencing technology—in combination with the detailed HERE map service—is able to create the relevant parameters for automatically setting the speed mode (25/ 45/ 60 km/h [15.5/ 28/ 37 mph]) and corresponding insurance cover. This geofencing technology enables the vehicle to recognize the type of road being used and automatically adjusts the maximum permitted speed accordingly.
This means the BMW i Vision AMBY can turn from a pedelec into an S-pedelec-type vehicle or even one similar to a motorcycle. Manual mode control is also provided in order to give the user maximum freedom when it comes to using the various types of route. However, intelligent technology ensures the relevant traffic and safety rules are still kept to at all times. The mode engaged is shown on the display using e-ink technology; this makes it easy for other road users to identify the mode activated/selected.
Other technological functions that could be included in the BMW i Vision AMBY are an ABS system optimized for bicycles, an automatic high-beam assistant and brake light assistant, and a daytime riding light. A tire pressure monitoring system similar to that fitted to BMW Group motorcycles is also a possibility. Meanwhile, a proximity radar operating over a range of up to 140 m gives the user a visual and acoustic warning (via the app) of vehicles approaching from the rear, and rounds off the range of possible safety features.
The BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY and the BMW i Vision AMBY interpret the fundamental idea of adaptive urban mobility on two wheels based on differing facets. Both vehicles are electrically powered with three speed levels for different types of road. The drive allows up to 25 km/h on cycle paths, up to 45 km/h on inner-city roads and up to a top speed of 60 km/h on multi-lane roads and out of town. A helmet, insurance licence plates and the relevant driving licence are required to be able to travel at higher speeds, however.
While the BMW i Vision AMBY as a high-speed pedelec requires constant pedalling in order to gain assistance from the electric drive, the BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY is accelerated using the throttle grip and has footrests instead of pedals, as is typical of a motorcycle.
The modes available to the rider are stored in the app on the smartphone that connects to the respective AMBY vision vehicle.
Manual selection of the speed level is conceivable, as is detection of the road by means of geofencing technology, thereby allowing automatic adjustment of the top speed. As there is currently no legal basis for such a vehicle with a modular speed concept, the idea behind the AMBY vision vehicles is to prompt legislation that will enable this kind of set-up. In this way, the BMW Group is demonstrating that it will continue to be involved in providing mobility options in big cities in the future and offers innovative solutions.