I rode the BMW CE 04 and it bought me enthusiastic about the way forward for electrical motorbikes

Key Takeaways

  • The BMW CE 04 is an all-electric “maxi-scooter” designed to compete with inside combustion-engined rivals when it comes to efficiency and energy.
  • Regardless of the preliminary wrestle to regulate to the moment torque of EVs, the CE 04 provides a clean and highly effective using expertise, with acceleration corresponding to high-performance bikes.
  • The CE 04 boasts superior expertise, equivalent to built-in map navigation and smartphone compatibility, making it a technologically superior possibility within the scooter market. Nonetheless, the excessive value could deter some potential consumers.

As a person with a storage that’s creaking beneath the burden of leaky, usually damaged Japanese bikes from the Nineteen Seventies, I am most likely the final individual the BMW CE 04 is marketed at. Name me old style, however I like the sound of an inline-four engine and actively hunt down the odor of two-strokes simply so I can have a great sniff.

It is barely embarrassing, however with regards to bikes, I really feel they need to be loud, brash and distinctly free from any gimmicks. A purist’s mantra that the majority electrified machines fail to stick to.

Rewind the clock just a few days and I used to be in a glorified plane hangar, making an attempt to work out the best way to change on a fantastically futuristic gunmetal gray BMW CE 04 – the newest all-electric “maxi-scooter” providing from the German model – and wishing for an ignition slot, so I might insert a key. Bear in mind these?

Value and powertrain

Designed to do battle with 400cc, inside combustion engined-rivals, it pairs a 60.6Ah (8.9kWh) battery pack – mounted as little as doable within the chassis for higher steadiness – with a 31kW (42hp) electrical motor that powers the good strong metal rim of the rear wheel through a sturdy carbon belt-drive system.

Within the UK not less than, you may want an A1 licence to trip the CE 04, which requires doing a correct bike take a look at, fairly than ambling round for a day throughout a CBT. It is the identical story in North America, the place the punchiest outputs require a full bike take a look at, though a lower-powered possibility is accessible to some markets that negates the necessity for added certification.

However again to the glorified plane hangar and the overly contrived ignition sequence. As soon as up and operating, I instantly change the using mode to Rain, as I do know the moment torque supply of EVs takes some getting used to.

Regardless of this, a barely overenthusiastic blip of the throttle has the again wheel spinning on the polished floor of BMW’s smooth employed venue and the facility of the electrical motor instantly reveals itself.

Fortunately, it’s rather more of a pussycat on the open highway, the place regular ranges of grip are afforded, and switching it into Street or Dynamic modes permits for the kind of acceleration that go someway to justify the lofty price ticket.


Once I say lofty, I truly imply painful. Costs for the CE 04 begin at £13,070/$12,195, which when in comparison with rival petrol-powered scooters of the same measurement, equates to over double the worth. In fact, you’ll be able to argue the price of possession will probably be decrease, as charging from a home socket in a single day will probably be low-cost. On prime of this, there is no such thing as a oil change and sophisticated engine to service frequently, will probably be a case of changing consumables like brake pads and tyres, all being effectively.

2023 BMW CE 04

Everlasting-magnet liquid-cooled synchronous motor

Energy Output


81 miles

Cost Time
1hr 40mins

Weight and using expertise

The highest velocity of the CE 04 is pegged at round 75mph, making motorways nearly doable, however it’s the dash away from the lights that I discovered so addictive. It beats just about something bar the wildest sports activities bikes. What’s extra, the battery packs are mounted in such a manner that the BMW CE 04’s ensuing body is lengthy and slender, making it easy to string via busy site visitors.

At 231kg, it’s positively not the lightest scooter on the market, however the German engineers have labored wonders with the packaging to make sure the CE 04 stays nimble and ridiculously simple to trip. BMW’s world-renowned construct and trip high quality is obvious all through the CE 04. It by no means feels clunky, or rattly or low-cost in any manner. It is a correct BMW.

Regenerative braking virtually does away with the necessity to pull the levers, whereas dynamic traction management, ABS and computerized stability management solely provides to the peace of thoughts. The latter limits electrical motor torque in relation to rear wheel slip, so the bike routinely cuts energy when it senses one thing is awry. Take it from expertise, polished concrete flooring are an excellent place to check this expertise’s limits.


When it comes to acceleration, it effortlessly will get as much as 30mph, after which equally effortlessly carries on to 60mph. The truth is, after using this round city for just a few hours, I can hand-on-heart say that it’s most likely one of many best methods to fall foul of the regulation. The silent using expertise and fighter jet-esque tears away from site visitors lights make it very simple to, ahem, press on. However when ridden extra sensibly, the electrical powertrain is such a doddle to dwell with. Granted, most rival scooters are twist-and-go, however only a few are as clean because the torque supply on the CE 04. That is the fantastic thing about electrical motors.


In comparison with a number of the junk leaking oil throughout my storage, BMW’s electrical scooter is a technological delight, with a ten.25-inch TFT color display that not solely options built-in map navigation, it additionally performs properly together with your smartphone, so it might show messages and make and obtain calls, ought to you will have a elaborate Bluetooth headset in your helmet.

Navigating the menu screens is a little bit advanced at first, with an enormous jog wheel on the bars taking good care of a lot of the UI. You click on this proper to enter, left to return, whereas spinning it up and down rotates via the menus. It takes a little bit of getting used to, however it wasn’t lengthy earlier than I had the heated grips going and the furnace-like seat hotter turning my glutes into Filet Mignon.

None of these things sounds ground-breaking by itself, particularly for these with fashionable electrical vehicles, however a lot of this tech is lacking on present bikes, and the thought of a built-in sat-nav is simply actually simply salting to filter via to the two-wheel world.

Charging and practicality

Official vary is slated at 130km, or round 80 miles, however that can actually rely on a complete host of parameters, together with the way you trip it, whether or not you will have a pillion passenger and even the temperature on the day.

Though it should hit 75mph, the BMW CE 04 is not actually constructed for epic highway journeys, and that’s mirrored in the truth that absolutely the quickest you’ll be able to cost it’s with a 6.9kW outlet that sees a full battery brim take 1 hour 40 minutes.



BMW factors out that in case you are going from 20 to 80 per cent, that point is diminished to 40 minutes, however it’s nonetheless much more than a break for the bathroom and a espresso.

Regardless, scooters of this nature are aimed toward inner-city commuters that need a fuss-free strategy to get from the suburbs into city. For that motive, the CE 04 is greatest charged from a home socket, the place a full cost takes simply over 4 hours.

That’s completely manageable and does away with the necessity to set up a cumbersome wall charging unit, which is an actual ache when you dwell in a flat. As a substitute, a good extension lead and any previous plug socket will see the CE 04 topped-up and able to go every morning. What’s extra, an rising variety of cities are putting in lower-powered charging factors in highway furnishings, equivalent to lampposts, which is likely to be irritating for electrical automobile homeowners and their large battery packs, however will probably be excellent for a motorcycle like this.

Additionally, a definite lack of engine, exhaust pipe and different oily bits have allowed the bike’s designers to throw in some further stowage. There is a ventilated drawer to your smartphone, full with USB-C connection, whereas the world beneath the seat is the proper measurement for a helmet.



There’s even a locker on the facet that can fortunately home charging cables, or is loads large enough to your passenger’s lid.

Last ideas

If you will get over the eye-watering asking value, there’s lots to like concerning the BMW CE 04 – and electrical bikes on the whole. For some motive, they’re innately extra sensible and the need to make use of one as an on a regular basis workhorse someway supersedes that of any petrol engine bike I’ve personally owned, borrowed or ridden.

Maybe it’s the reality you’ll be able to merely hop on and go – or the shortage of engine be aware irritating the neighbours – that makes them extra approachable. The shortage of drama and theatre that some EV naysayers deride virtually makes electrified bikes like this much more alluring. They do not tug on the heartstrings like a traditional bike may, however they’re undeniably much less advanced and way more helpful.

In fact, the worth simply would not make sense for many in the meanwhile, however like Harley-Davidson and its LiveWire, that is only the start. BMW has a smaller, extra inexpensive CE 02 on the horizon that might make emissions-free scooting extra accessible for a lot of.

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