The German manufacturer has been favorite of police agencies in Europe when it comes to motorcycles, and has been working to offer electric models.
A number of European cities have made plans to ban gas- and diesel-engined vehicles in city centers, and are seeking zero-emissions vehicles for city services of all types.
Our present is beginning to resemble the future depicted in sci-fi films 35 years ago, with EVs whooshing by almost silently on the streets, while news streams into our phones. Some days look like they're from a Neill Blomkamp film, others (when a gun-toting robot is revealed) looks like something from a Paul Verhoeven film. And some days are straight up Blade Runner.
That very 1980s vision of two-wheeled transport has been brought to life earlier this year with the debut of the BMW CE 04 electric scooter, featuring plenty of rhombus-shaped body panels with a whiff of an Akira-style aesthetic. But to really feel like that future is here, we had to see it in police colors. BMW obliged this week, bringing the CE 04 to the Milipol trade show in Paris, complete with police gear.
The CE 04 itself is powered by an 8.9-kWh battery, offering a 41-hp output along with a range of 81 miles. In police spec, the CE 04 has been given LED strobes, a siren system, and a telescoping rear LED beacon, along with additional secure storage. The electric scooter still features a 10.25-inch TFT screen, but could be equipped with an additional radio fitted to other BMW motorcycles currently in use by German police.
"The new CE 04, which was presented a few months ago, plays a particularly important role, since the dynamic, environmentally friendly electric scooter not only offers a concept tailored to special authorities requirements by offering flexible options and a high level of operational expertise in urban and metropolitan areas," BMW says.
With a top speed of 80 mph, the scooter is suited for city and highway riding alike, though we'd imagine that police agencies that order these will prefer to use them in the city, since highway police motorbikes have their own range and equipment requirements.
Why would city police forces in Europe opt for something smaller than a typical police motorcycle?
When it comes to two-wheeled police vehicles, there are not that many advantages to larger size, as some European cities have started to discover, even though traditionally police motorcycles have indeed tended to be larger to carry more equipment. That tradition has started being challenged in recent years, with some municipalities in Europe opting for something between smaller scooters (for parking enforcement) and touring motorcycles (the kind that operate on high speed motorways). The increased focus on midsize bikes for city patrol duties, including traffic enforcement, resulted from a gradual realization that such bikes did not have to be all that large or complex to ride, especially given the fact that police riders also have to focus on peripheral electronics like the radio and siren systems.
Electric scooters offer users twist-and-go ease of use, which becomes an asset given all the other equipment that police riders have to pay attention to.
A smaller footprint gives the CE 04 advantages in urban areas, including pedestrian zones, in areas where police motorcycle use would be too disruptive in terms of noise and emissions for patrol duties. The CE 04 is also small enough to be used among bicycle lanes and normal traffic lanes alike, without forcing other riders off the road. It's also quiet enough to be used in parks and other large pedestrian areas that are currently patrolled by police on bicycles.
With a heavier focus on decreasing emissions in European capitals, police agencies are increasingly looking at electric vehicles of all types for city use, making the CE 04 one of the latest contenders in this category. By the end of the decade, some industry observers expect that police fleets in large European cities will be mostly using electric vehicles, given the increased ZEV requirements being adopted by European municipalities. Since police vehicles tend to patrol geographically limited areas, and all spend their off-hours in fleet garages, switching to EVs is expected to be easier for police agencies since EVs can recharge at their bases in between shifts.
"The BMW Motorrad range of optional accessories and optional equipment ex works, specially tailored to the needs of authorities and institutions, benefits from decades of experience and development in this field," the company adds. "Whether for the police, customs, technical aid organizations, fire brigade, military, escorts, or as support for heavy goods transports—BMW Motorrad is always able to offer tailor-made authorities vehicles."
The CE 04 isn't the first two-wheeled electric vehicle produced by BMW, but it could be the first to break into the mainstream. And this goes for private buyers and municipal agencies alike.