Skip to main content

BMW Motorrad’s Concept Link scooter has room for two and space for groceries

Last fall, BMW Motorrad introduced Vision Next 100, a concept for future motorcycle design the company described at the time as “the ultimate riding experience.” Now we get a first look at BMW’s view for the future of urban mobility, the BMW Motorrad Concept Link.

The overriding theme of the Concept Link design is uniting digital connectivity with two-wheeled urban mobility demands. Keeping in mind that Concept Link is a thought piece, not an actual product announcement or preview, the future scooter demonstrates how electric-powered motor scooters open functional opportunities not possible with internal combustion engine (ICE)-powered bikes. Gas-engine bikes dedicate a lot of space to the motor, exhaust system, and fuel tank.

BMW Motorrad Concept Link

The Concept Link’s electric motor is on the back wheel and its flat, heavy energy packs are mounted in the scooter’s underfloor. This battery placement lowers the center of gravity, always a good thing, and opens up the remaining space between the seat and the bottom of the scooter for storage. A sliding door allows access to storage under the seat without having to flip up or remove the seat.

According to BMW Motorrad, the Concept Link’s edrive will deliver fast acceleration and be easy to handle. The scooter concept has a reverse gear to help maneuver in tight spaces.

“The BMW Motorrad Concept Link stands for a new understanding of urban mobility. It links the digital and analog world and places the focus on the rider and his mobility needs. In the way it links functionality and digitalization it performs both as a means of transport as well as a communication device,” said Edgar Heinrich, the head of design of BMW Motorrad.

Instead of a traditional instrument cluster, the Concept Link has a touch-sensitive display panel. Speed, navigation, and battery life data project onto a small windshield in the driver’s field of vision. Other information for interacting and communicating with the world appear directly on the display panel. The driver will not have to touch the panel for frequent access information but can use touch-enabled buttons on the handlebars to navigate and access information. BMW Motorrad envisions the driver interacting with infotainment, connectivity, and routing applications via the handlebar buttons.

BMW Motorrad’s Concept Link rider apparel extends the rider’s connection to the vehicle and digital connectivity. The clothing does not look like traditional biker leathers, but in addition to integrated protector pads in vulnerable areas such as elbows and shoulders, the Concept Link jacket arm can open and close the luggage compartment’s sliding door, for example.

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
EV vs. PHEV vs. hybrid: What’s the difference?
BMW X5 PHEV charge port

When sizing up options for your next car, you may be figuring out whether to get an electric vehicle, only to discover there are a bunch of variations to consider -- not just hybrids, but plug-in hybrids, extended-range electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles are just some of the other categories. The depths of EV jargon run so deep that we wrote an entire EV glossary, but for now let's zero in on the difference between electric vehicles, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids. These options blend old tech and new tech in a way that's often practical, cheaper than an EV, and still more efficient than an old-school gasoline car.
What is an electric vehicle?
An electric vehicle skips the internal combustion engine found in most traditional cars in favor of an electric motor. This allows EVs to operate without needing gasoline. Instead, they're powered by an electric battery that will need to be charged regularly, either at your home or at a charging station like a Tesla Supercharger. The Ford Mach-E, Kia EV6, and Rivian R1S are all popular examples of modern EVs.

The electric motor works by way of a rotating magnetic field. Inside the motor, three electromagnets surround a free-floating rotor, which spins based on which magnet is attracting it most. That rotor in turn produces power to the wheels of the car and pushes it forward and backward. Regenerative braking reverses the relationship and turns motion into electricity. While you're slowing to a stop, the force of the turning wheels spins the rotor and generates a charge via the electromagnets in the motor, which in turn goes up into the battery for storage. If you're curious, you can dig into the nuts and bolts of how an electric vehicle works.
What's the difference between a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid?
In short, a hybrid primarily relies on gas with an electric backup, while a plug-in hybrid relies on electric power with a gas backup.

Read more
You’ll soon be able to watch YouTube videos in your Android Automotive car
Android Auto in a car.

Google is making a bigger play for the in-car infotainment system. At Google I/O 2023, the company took the wraps off of a series of improvements to both Android Auto and Android Automotive, allowing those who want Google-based services in their car to get more features and better account integration.

As a reminder, the two systems may have a similar (almost identical?) name, but are actually quite different. Android Auto essentially just projects content from your phone, whether through a wireless or wired connection. It's Google's answer to Apple's CarPlay, and doesn't work without your phone. Android Automotive, however, is a version of Android that runs in the car itself, as the car's main infotainment system. It works whether you have a connected phone or not. Collectively, Google refers to the systems as Android for Cars -- yes, yet another name.

Read more
Are EVs safe? From battery fires to autopilot, here are the facts
Lucid Air electric car

While many people will be primarily concerned with EV range before buying their first electric vehicle, others are a little nervous about having a giant lithium-ion battery strapped to their car's undercarriage. Those things can catch fire -- just ask Chevy Bolt owners. But how much of a real danger is that? And should it prevent you from buying an EV?
What safety features do EV batteries have?
The major safety issue with lithium-ion batteries is their temperature. If they get too hot, they're prone to igniting. If they get too cold, they freeze and permanently stop working. Charge and discharge rates need to be carefully regulated too, or you'll get electrical fires. Over time, small imperfections in a battery's structure can lead to short circuits and reduced lifetime.

EVs have what are called battery management systems (BMS) to keep tabs on all of these variables. The BMS will generate warnings when needed and intervene directly by cutting off power if things get out of hand. EV battery packs also have thermal management systems. Typically, this is a closed loop of liquid coolant flowing alongside the battery cells, but air cooling and welding battery cells directly to the car chassis are also means of mitigating extreme heat.
How well do EVs handle a crash?
Since there's no engine at the front of an EV, the hood typically houses a frunk -- meaning a front trunk. This acts as a large crumple zone in the case of a head-on accident. One crash in Germany avoided casualties thanks to this inherent characteristic of electric vehicles. Crash tests bear this out. Popular EVs like the Tesla Model 3, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Nissan Leaf have all received overall five-star ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Read more