BMW Envisions Elevated Roadway for Electric Two-Wheelers

BMW Envisions Elevated Roadway for Electric Two-Wheelers

BMW’s “Innovations” group has come up with the BMW Vision E³ Way project to move small electric two-wheelers off city streets and onto their own elevated roadway system. This was created by the BMW Group Technology Office China in collaboration with the Tongji University, both in Shanghai, as a “visionary mobility concept” to address traffic congestion, air pollution and other challenges faced by large cities. The three E’s stand for “elevated,” “electric” and “efficient.”

There’s a roof over most of the roadway providing protection from rain and heat — sufficient ventilation is added. A cooling system using purified rainwater maintains the temperature. And this recycled water can be used to clean the road surface at night. While vehicles operate at a typical 15 mph with a maximum of 25 mph, the road is set up like major highways with on- and off-ramps allowing vehicles to get up to speed before merging with other traffic. The road links to key traffic hubs, underground stations and shopping malls in the city. Traffic flow is optimized by using automated video surveillance systems, artificial intelligence and “integration of smart city ecosystems.”

The benefits of this system are shorter travel times, less traffic congestion on existing streets and a reduction in air pollution. It will also be safer as smaller, slower two-wheelers do not have to ride along with cars and trucks. And since this system is elevated above traditional streets it will increase overall traffic capacity without requiring additional space to be built. BMW even claims it will be cheap to build because of its “modular design and free scalability.”

BMW, of course, mentioned use by their own electric two wheelers such as the BMW Motorrad Concept Link (an electric scooter concept capable of speeds much higher than 25 mph), BMW Motorrad X2 City kick scooter (whose speed tops out at 15 mph) and other “approved” vehicles. But BMW envisions the ability of residents to ride the roads spontaneously using a vehicle sharing/rental area at each access point.

“The BMW Vision E³ Way opens up a whole new dimension of mobility in overcrowded conurbations – efficient, convenient and safe. It works by simply creating space for two-wheel zero-emissions traffic,” explains Dr. Markus Seidel, Director BMW Group Technology Office China. “In China, more than a billion people will be living in cities by 2050. The country will become the global incubator for numerous mobility innovations such as the BMW Vision E³ Way,” Seidel adds, “after all, nowhere else is there such an urgent need for action.”

BMW’s complete press release is below:

 


Innovative urban mobility concepts for the future. Elevated road concept “BMW Vision E³ Way” raises emission-free two-wheeler mobility in megacities to a new level.

As a provider of premium mobility products and services, the BMW Group is constantly in search of answers to the question: what will move us (forward) in the future? In the past, the BMW Group has already presented pioneering solutions for future individual mobility with a range of different concept vehicles as well as the visionary studies presented to mark its centenary. As part of the stratgey NUMBER ONE > NEXT  and in view of the challenges to come, BMW Group developers are working on visionary mobility solutions that go well beyond established conventions.

Innovations that reach far beyond the conventional vehicle context. The world of individual and sustainability mobility faces enormous challenges in conurbations. As urbanization progresses, more and more people are crowding into cities, so conventional mobility concepts and local public transportation are reaching the limits of their capability. Congestion and high levels of air pollution are the result, which in turn leads to constraints on the quality of life.

The BMW Group’s “Research, New Technologies, Innovations” division is a unique competence center that is devoted to addressing this and other challenges.

“Our goal is to link sustainable and efficient mobility with a high quality of living in cities. We use new technologies as well as our creativity in order to create innovative approaches as the BMW Vision E³ Way,” explains Dr. Gerd Schuster, Senior Vice President Research, New Technologies and Innovations.

The “BMW Group Technology Offices” in Mountain View (CA), Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul guarantee proximity to the world’s technological hotspots, while a central department for trend and technology scouting collates and supplements the insights acquired in the field. Once challenges and needs have been identified, they are then fed into concrete research projects.

BMW Vision E³ Way – emission-free two-wheeler mobility at a new level. Developed at the BMW Group Technology Office China in Shanghai, the BMW Vision E³ Way project shows a visionary mobility concept that is designed not just to specifically address the challenges faced by megacities – such as traffic congestion and air pollution – but to provide a solution that is both simple and effective. It consists of an elevated road concept for electrically powered two-wheel vehicles which links key traffic hubs in urban conurbations. The three E’s stand for “elevated,” “electric” and “efficient” – the concept’s defining properties. The use of roadways that are elevated above existing roads means the project generates additional traffic capacity. The BMW Vision E³ Way is explicitly conceived for locally emission-free single-track mobility concepts only (“electric”), such as e-bikes, the BMW Motorrad Concept Link and the recently presented BMW Motorrad X2 City – likewise developed by the “Research, New Technologies, Innovations” division. The elevated road is simple and modular in design, economical to build as a result, and provides a fast, direct link between key traffic hubs, making it the perfect alternative for commuters traveling up to 15 km [10 mph]. This makes use of the elevated road very efficient not only in terms of cost but also as regards travel time (“efficient”).

“The BMW Vision E³ Way opens up a whole new dimension of mobility in overcrowded conurbations – efficient, convenient and safe. It works by simply creating space for two-wheel zero-emissions traffic,” explains Dr. Markus Seidel, Director BMW Group Technology Office China. “In China, more than a billion people will be living in cities by 2050. The country will become the global incubator for numerous mobility innovations such as the BMW Vision E³ Way,” Seidel adds, “after all, nowhere else is there such an urgent need for action.”

The BMW Vision E³ Way was elaborated in collaboration with the Tongji University in Shanghai. The university possesses outstanding expertise in a number of areas that are relevant to the concept. Headed by the renowned Professors Jun Ma, various departments as the “School of Automotive Studies,“ as well as the “College of Design and Innovation,” were involved in the project.

Emission-free and safe. Ramps and sluice systems are used to connect the BMW Vision E³ Way to the regular road network, underground stations, other traffic hubs, and even shopping malls. By shifting single-track mobility to its own spatial level, the BMW Vision E³ Way makes daily commuting not just faster but safer, too. The fact that is used solely by electrically powered two-wheel vehicles means that collisions with cars are ruled out. The general risk of accidents is further reduced by means of an automatic speed limit of 25 km/h [15 mph]. In addition, there is an elaborate system of lanes that separates filtering traffic from flowing traffic: not until travel speed has been reached do the two merge.

Convenient and efficient. The BMW Vision E³ Way is not just fast and safe to use, however, it is also convenient. Those who do not already own a vehicle approved for the BMW Vision E³ Way can still use the facility spontaneously by means of a sharing scheme that provides rental vehicles at each access point. The elevated road is largely roofed over, ensuring protection from rain and heat as well as sufficient ventilation. A cooling system with purified rainwater creates pleasant temperatures: this can also be used to clean the road surface at night.

The outstanding feature of the BMW Vision E³ Way concept is that it takes existing emission-free mobility solutions on two wheels such as e-bikes and the BMW Motorrad X2 City and places them on a new traffic level: this means the vision can be realized quickly and without the need for additional space. Initial feasibility studies demonstrate that a concept such as the BMW Vision E³ Way can significantly reduce congestion, emissions, travel time and the risk of accidents. Traffic flow is permanently optimized by means of automated video surveillance systems and artificial intelligence as well as through the integration of smart city ecosystems. And the best thing is that its modular design and free scalability make the concept essentially suitable for use in any megacity.

Premium solutions in the future, too. The BMW Vision E³ Way is just one possible solution to the question “What will move us (forward) in the future?” At the same time, it exemplifies the innovative spirit of the BMW Group – its capacity to produce concepts such as this that extend far beyond the conventional vehicle context. “Our aspiration in the future will continue to be innovation and technology leadership at the premium level,” explains Dr. Rainer Daude, Project Director Special Projects and Mobility Concepts. “The very meaning of the term ‘premium’ will change in future too, of course. Attributes such as ‘straightforward,’ ‘convenient,’ ‘efficient,’ ‘safe’ and ’emission-free’ are becoming increasingly important. In concrete terms, this means being able to offer solutions that meet all mobility needs, with the capacity to make better use of travel time and/or to cover distances in less time – offering the highest possible level of safety, convenience and efficiency.”

The BMW Vision E³ Way forms part of the BMW Group strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.

With the strategy the BMW Group strives for the transformation and shaping of the individual mobility of the future. The development of new technologies and innovations have always been part of the BMW Group DNA.

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