BMW Brings an Electric Scooter

And if you want one, make sure your digital account if full of digits

By Gary S. Vasilash

“The new BMW CE 04 is the link between the user’s analogue and digital worlds. It is both a means of transport and a means of communication for the big city commuter. With its forward-looking design thanks based on an innovative package, it sets out to redefine the scooter segment.”

That’s Edgar Heinrich, head of Design, BMW Motorrad.

The CE 04 is a scooter. An electric scooter.

Heinrich and the BMW CE 04 electric scooter. (Image: BMW)

How it is a means of communication is curious. And while its design has a shard aesthetic to it, which is about as far from the smooth lines characteristic of a Vespa, it isn’t entirely clear whether this is “forward-looking” or just “Blade Runner.”

It produces 42 hp. It has a maximum speed of 75 miles. It has a maximum range of an estimated 80 miles. It can carry two people (which would probably have an effect on the speed and range).

Its 147.6-volt lithium-ion battery pack recharges fairly quickly: from 0 to 100% in 4 hours and 20 minutes when plugged into a normal household outlet (Level 1). For a Level 2 charger (one of those units you’ve seen in parking lots, say, at Whole Foods) it is 1 hour and 40 minutes. If you charge the battery from 20% to 80% (which would presumably provide a range of 64 miles) on a Level 2 charger, it is just 45 minutes. Or the time to do a good shop at Whole Foods and a quick cappuccino.

But there is one number that is somewhat brake-applying for most people: It has an MSRP of $11,795.

For a scooter.

GM to Spend More Billions on EVs (and AVs)

Why spend $20 billion when you can spend $35 billion?

By Gary S. Vasilash

Yesterday General Motors announced that spending $20 billion between 2020 and 2025 on electric and autonomous vehicular tech, as it said it had intended to in March 2020, isn’t enough.

It announced that spending $27 billion during the same period, as it said it had intended to in November 2020, just doesn’t cut it.

So now GM says that it will spend $35 billion by 2025.

In other word, a 75% increase in spend from what it originally intended just 15 months ago.

Why?

Said Mary Barra, GM chair and CEO: “We are investing aggressively in a comprehensive and highly integrated plan to make sure that GM leads in all aspects of the transformation to a more sustainable future.

“GM is targeting annual global EV sales of more than 1 million by 2025, and we are increasing our investment to scale faster because we see momentum building in the United States for electrification, along with customer demand for our product portfolio.”

The Bolt EV is presently the GM electric vehicle. In the first quarter GM sold 9,025 of the compact electric vehicles.

Yes, that is a 53.7% increase over Q1 2020, but that was Q1 2020.

The increase in Corvette sales Q1 to Q1 was 73.1%. While only 6,611 of those vehicles were delivered, odds are GM makes more on each Corvette than Bolt.

GM does have more EVs coming, like the HUMMER EV pickup and the Cadillac LYRIQ crossover. And there will be an electric Silverado and other vehicles to boot.

GM will be building two EVs for Honda, one for Honda brand and one for Acura. And it is supplying Navistar with its HYDROTEC hydrogen power fuel cells for heavy trucks that are to be launched in 2024.

And while it doesn’t get a whole lot of attention compared to EVs, Cruise is continuing its efforts to achieve higher levels of autonomy. It has been given the go-ahead to provide a public service sans driver in California. It has been named the exclusive autonomous rideshare provider in the city of Dubai. It will be receiving Cruise Origin vehicles—jointly developed by GM and Honda, and scheduled for production in GM’s Factory ZERO Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center in 2023.

No question that GM is making a huge commitment.

A thought

Here’s something that needs to be taken into account. According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, as of approximately right now there are 42,664 charging stations in the U.S. and 103,654 charging outlets available to the public.

People who live, say, in southeast Michigan tend to travel up I-75 to northwest Michigan every holiday in numbers that make a chain out of the vehicles, trailers, boats, etc. Somehow, unless there is access to chargers that are going to allow recharges in minutes, not large fractions of an hour (or more), it is going to take one EV-intensive holiday weekend to have some exceedingly sour people.

When people are used to spending a quick time at a gas station, sitting in a long line waiting for access to a plug may have a big effect on the overall acceptance of EVs.

The Cost of “Refueling”

Turns out that EVs are significantly less expensive to power

By Gary S. Vasilash

Although electric vehicles tend to be more costly than comparable gasoline-powered vehicles, when it comes to “refueling,” EVs can save a whole lot of money compared with gasoline-powered vehicles, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

As much as about 60%.

The agency developed what it calls an “eGallon.”

That is a comparison of what it would cost to buy equivalent energy to power an EV the same amount as it would cost a gasoline powered vehicle to travel on one gallon of gas.

So, based on the national average of $2.85 for a gallon of gas (as of March 31) and the equivalent price of electricity at a national average of $1.16 for an eGallon, this means the average fuel savings of approximately 60%.

In Washington state the difference was much larger: the cost of a gallon of regular was $3.13 and the cost of an eGallon was $0.89, so the fuel cost savings was about 72%.

So for those who pay attention to what they’re paying for their miles per gallon, it appears that EVs may be advantageous.

Of course, it takes longer to recharge an EV than it does to fill up a tank with liquid fuel.

So if time is money. . . .

How Many EV Chargers in the U.S.?

If you live in California, there is a reasonably large number. Of course, there is also a reasonably large number of electric vehicles. Chicken or egg?

By Gary S. Vasilash

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are now 25 states that have at least 1,000 non-residential electric vehicle charging units. This means that if you had an electrician come over to your garage and wired it up for a Level 2 charger, it doesn’t count.

Yet for some reason, public and private chargers are counted.

No surprise that California has the most. 36,913 chargers.

Alaska has the least: 69.

Large yet comparatively out-of-the-way states have low numbers, too: 116 in North Dakota and 134 in South Dakota.

Even a small out-of-the-way state, Hawaii, has more than those two continental states combined: It has 784 chargers.

While the number of chargers is on the increase, the whole charging infrastructure is still a challenge for the acceptance of electric vehicles.

And this isn’t even taking the amount of time it takes to charge the average EV in relation to how long it takes to fuel a vehicle that runs on gasoline.