A futuristic all-electric motorcycle that will never crash. Or that’s the plan, at least.
After BMW, Rolls-Royce, and Mini, it’s now the turn of the BMW Motorrad division to show off its futuristic Vision Next 100 concept. The all-electric motorcycle concept shows BMW Motorrad’s ideas for what riding might look like in the future – ‘The Great Escape,’ as BMW puts it.
The Vision Next 100 has a sleek, curved black body designed to look like a naked bike. The body merges smoothly into the fork, while the power unit – an all-electric system of as-yet-undisclosed specifications – is shiny chrome. The power unit retracts when the bike is turned off and expands when underway, which BMW says improves aerodynamics and helps protect the ride from the elements.
In nearly every respect, the BMW Vision Next 100 is unconventional. The fork doesn’t pivot, for instance, so to steer the rider turns the handlebars to “twist” the entire frame (called the Flexframe) and rotate the front wheel. More force is needed the faster the motorcycle is traveling, while at low speeds it’s light and easy to maneuver. The seat, upper frame, and most of the fairings are made from carbon fibre.
The Vision Next 100 also comes with a self-balancing feature that keeps it upright even when parked, a feature designed to improve rider comfort and safety. There are also various active-safety features that predict “critical situations,” BMW says, helping avoid accidents. In fact, the company claims the bike will be so safe that a helmet won’t be needed. Instead, riders will wear a special virtual reality-like visor that projects information ahead of his or her eyes. “Looking” up or down controls which information is shown. The visor also can show the view from a rear-facing camera, to act as a rear-view mirror.
Along with the visor, riders of the concept motorcycle will wear a special suit that can heat or cool the rider, depending on the weather. It vibrates the rider’s arms or legs to signal the direction of an upcoming turn, and inflates to better support their neck at high speeds. But there are no traditional safety features in the suit, BMW says, because “the bike’s intelligent assistance systems make them superfluous.”
There are no indicators as to whether this concept will ever see the light of day, or if it'll arrive in Canada and at what price point.
The idea of a crash-proof motorcycle still seems far off, but for now, take a look at BMW Motorrad’s vision for such a two-wheel machine in the gallery below.