One of the more interesting concepts from BMW’s 2021 IAA displays in Munich isn’t actually a car — it’s an electric bicycle. The BMW i Vision AMBY is a pedelec (pedal electric bicycle) with an electric drive system and three speeds.
The three different speed ratings are as follows: 25 km/h (15.5 mph) for cycle tracks, 45 km/h (28 mph) for city center roads, and 60 km/h (37 mph) for multi-lane roads. However, each successive speed requires certain licensing to drive. Interestingly, the BMW i Vision AMBY uses geo-fencing to know where the bike is, thus allowing it to automatically adjust its top speed. This way you don’t have maniacs riding at 37 mph down the bike lane and your local park.
Being an electric pedal bike, the BMW i Vision AMBY requires constant pedal from the rider.
“Everywhere you look, apparently established categories are being blown apart – and that’s a good thing. In the future, classifications such as ‘car’, ‘bicycle’ and ‘motorcycle’ should not determine the nature of the products we think up, develop and offer,” explains Werner Haumayr, Vice President BMW Group Design Conception.
“Rather, this paradigm shift gives us the opportunity to tailor products to people’s lifestyles – as we can see with the BMW i Vision AMBY high-speed pedelec. This vehicle occupies the space between a bicycle and a light motorcycle and allows our customers to decide for themselves whichc roads or routes they want to travel on through an urban area. They have all the flexibility possible, at the same time as turning the pedals and keeping themselves fit. The modes and clever route selection are intended to make it one of the fastest travel options through a city.”
The BMW i Vision AMBY is also supposed to look different than a standard e-bike. Rather than looking slim and slender, the AMBY is designed to look thick, strong, and durable. BMW claims its design is a combination of e-bike and racing bike. There’s also a clever little smartphone pad under the handle bars, so you can mount your phone for navigation or media. Additionally, the handle bars get a small LED light strip underneath, which not only looks cool but helps with safety at night.
There are actually quite a few safety features. The AMBY gets ABS, automatic high-beam assist, brake light assist, daytime riding lights, and even a proximity sensor, which provides an audible beep to the rider when a vehicle is closely approaching the rear of the bike.
Mounted in the center of the frame is the 2,000 Wh battery pack, that provides up to 300 km (186 miles) of charge. Mounted next to the pedal is the electric drive unit, which sends power, through a toothed belt, to the rear wheel only while the rider is pedaling. It also gets 120 mm of suspension travel, to handle wide variety of surfaces. The integrated brakes, with internally-routed cables, gives the bike a very slick streamlined look, too.
If you like to tinker with your bikes, the rear wheel is centrally fastened, so it can be removed quickly and easily. The front wheel is traditionally removed with a screw. Even the battery can be removed and stored separately.
While typically bikes don’t have keys, the BMW i Vision AMBY has a digital key function. Using your smart phone, you can prime the bike for use, load your license information for certain speed limits, and even update any insurance needed on the fly. With the BMW app, you can also check battery status and range and get over-the-air updates. There’s also a free programmable immobilizer, allowing smart, remote theft protection.
There’s also a BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY, which is similar to the i Vision AMBY but with some sportier tweaks. The frame of the Motorrad version is slightly different, with a unique single-sided rear swing arm that connects the rear wheel. It also gets much chunkier, knobbier tires. But the biggest difference between the two is the Motorrad version’s ability to accelerate without the rider pedaling. Whereas the i Vision AMBY requires the rider to pedal to provide electric assist, the Motorrad version has a grip-mounted throttle, that can provide electric acceleration on its own..
BMW is keen on updating and upgrading urban mobility and t his BMW i Vision AMBY, despite not being an exciting performance car, is quite cool and should be very helpful for a lot of city dwellers. Let’s hope it makes it to production in as close to this concept’s form as possible.