Text by Dustin Wheelen
Photos by Revzilla
BMW celebrated its centennial at BMW Motorrad Days 2023 by rolling out the 2024 CE 02. According to the official press release, the all-new, entry-level electric is “neither an e-motorbike nor an e-scooter.” BMW instead identifies it as “an eParkourer” meant to “appeal to young people.” As a Gen Zer would sum up that pitch: cringe.
To most, parkour conjures up images of agility and urban life. The 100-year-old marque hopes young whippersnappers associate those same attributes with the CE 02. There’s just one problem, in my opinion: Parkour hasn’t been relevant since the sixth season of the U.S. television series “The Office.” That’s a distant memory for most. It’s a lifetime ago for “young people.”
Marketing tactics aside, the model’s $7,599 MSRP also poses a significant barrier to entry. Especially with BMW seeking customers as young as 15 years old in Germany — where no motorcycle license is required for the CE 02 — and first-time riders in the United States, the urban runabout also faces stiff competition from electric bicycles. It’s under these circumstances that the German manufacturer launches its bid to attract a new generation.
The next generation
The CE 02’s futuristic design is BMW’s first appeal to youngsters. From the disc wheels to the faux fuel tank, the wee e-scooter thumbs its nose at tradition. “The focus is not on utility, but on emotional appeal,” admits Head of BMW Motorrad Design Edgar Heinrich.
The styling makes that evident, with the standard model sporting Cosmic Black paint with Granite Grey Metallic and Silver accents. An all-black seat maintains that subdued aesthetic, while nine decals add nominal flair. Rationalizing for that minimalist approach, the Bavarian brand claims the “reduced design offers plenty of scope for your own design options.”
If the do-it-yourself route isn’t your style, the Highline accessory package adds some head-turning cachet with 22 graphics. BMW makes it a point to call out that kit includes wheel decals, as well. The base color scheme remains beneath those new stickers, but a tri-colored seat and gold fork legs add extra bling.
Of course, noting the CE 02’s air-cooled, synchronous motor, and dual 48 V, 1.96 kWh batteries is all but obligatory, but the German firm keeps it casual for its youthful audience, labeling the model’s two standard ride modes as “Flow” and “Surf.” Those designations are neither self-explanatory nor distinguishable to the uninitiated, but Flow yields gentle acceleration along with medium energy regeneration. Playing on common clichés, Surf coasts along under deceleration with zero regen yet offers a direct throttle response. The Highline package’s exclusive Flash mode unlocks a “very responsive, sporty, and dynamic riding experience,” as described by BMW.
With just 15 maximum horsepower (at 5,000 rpm), eight rated horsepower, and 40.6 foot-pounds of torque (between 0-1,000 rpm), performance isn’t a major selling point for the CE either. Restricted to civic confines, the 59-mph top speed and reported 56-mile range (WMTC) should suit city-dwelling 20-somethings, too. When it’s time to plug back in, BMW lists a 20%-to-80% charge time of two hours and 50 minutes with the base 0.9 kW charger plugged into a 120-volt wall socket. That interval purportedly drops to two hours and 20 minutes when owners upgrade to the Highline’s 1.5 kW unit. The Munich manufacturer did not provide 0%-to-100% estimates.
Catering to first-time riders, the urban scoot benefits from a manageable 291-pound curb weight and an inviting 29.5-inch seat height. That same beginner-friendly approach extends to the CE 02’s rider aids. BMW’s Automatic Stability Control (ASC) operates similar to traction control, mitigating rear-wheel slip under acceleration. Recuperation Stability Control (RSC), on the other hand, is synonymous with drag torque control, preserving the eParkourer’s composure in heavy braking zones.
Gen Z grew up with technology at their fingertips. BMW equipped the CE 02 as such. Matching the model’s stature, a 3.5-inch micro TFT dash displays data such as battery percentage and speed, while Bluetooth connectivity seamlessly pairs BMW’s smartphone app. That’s in addition to keyless ride, a reverse aid, all-around LED lighting, and a USB-C port. The optional Highline supplements the tech suite with a smartphone tray, heated grips, and BMW Motorrad Connected Services. The latter of which also powers BMW’s new ConnectedRide Smartglasses.
Through tech-tinted glasses
Hot on the heels of the CE 02’s debut, the Deutsch marque also announced its ConnectedRide Smartglasses. Headlined by head-up display (HUD) technology, the advanced eyewear transmits relevant ride information into the rider’s field of vision. Other brands integrate similar innovations into full-face helmets, but BMW stands to democratize HUD for open-face and modular helmet users. That is if it can appropriately price the product. That’s one detail the German firm has yet to reveal.
What we do know is that users will link the device to BMW’s smartphone app via Bluetooth. Once paired to a motorcycle or scooter, the rider can utilize the vehicle’s left switchgear to toggle the projection position and settings. The system then presents current speed, gear indicator, real-time GPS data, and local speed limits at the top left corner of the right lens. Though Gen Z is the most tech-literate generation to date, that level of connectedness can quickly lead into distractedness. If the HUD sunglasses can deliver on BMW’s claims of “anticipatory and thus safer motorcycle riding,” they stand to help usher in a new generation of safety-minded riders. Only time will tell whether the state-of-the-art spectacles actually move the needle with youthful newcomers.
BMW’s latest tech-laden products don’t just come together via Bluetooth connectivity. They also co-star in the brand’s latest marketing push. It’s worth noting that the ConnectedRide Smartglasses are compatible with other Bluetooth-enabled Beemers, but it’s no coincidence that the CE line prominently features in the product beauty shots. The CE 02 and ConnectedRide Smartglasses announcements commemorated BMW’s 100-year anniversary, but they also kicked off the manufacturer’s second century. One attempts to court ever-elusive Gen Zers. The other appeals directly to early adopters. Both seek a tech-fluent clientele. But both will need to navigate changing times in BMW’s “next 100 years.”
2024 BMW CE 02
Price (MSRP) $7,599
Motor Air-cooled excited synchronous
final drive Intermediate shaft, belt final drive
Claimed horsepower 15 @ 5,000 rpm (maximum), 8 (rated)
Claimed torque 40.6 foot-pounds @ 0-1,000 rpm
Frame Tubular steel, double-loop frame
Front suspension 37 mm fork, non-adjustable; 4.6 inches of travel
Rear suspension Spring/shock absorber; 4.6 inches of travel
Front brake Single two-piston caliper, 9.4-inch (238.76 mm) disc with ABS
Rear brake Single-piston caliper, 8.7-inch (220.98 mm) disc
Rake, trail 24.5 degrees, 3.6 inches
Wheelbase 53.3 inches
Seat height 29.5 inches
Claimed range 56 miles (city)
Claimed battery capacity 3.92 kWh nominal
Claimed charge time 2.83 hours @ Level 1 (20%-80%)
Tires 120/80-14 front, 150/70-14 rear
Claimed weight 291 pounds
Available Spring 2024
Warranty 36 months
More info bmwmotorcycles.com