Revving into the Future: My Electrifying Ride on the BMW CE 04


While my garage is a nostalgic sanctuary for leaky, vintage Japanese motorcycles from the 1970s, I stand as a reluctant outlier in the target audience for the BMW CE 04. Admittedly, I’m a bit old-fashioned when it comes to my passion for motorcycles. The symphony of an inline-four engine’s roar and the aroma of two-stroke exhaust fumes are sources of genuine delight for me.

In my book, motorcycles should be raucous, unapologetically bold, and devoid of unnecessary gimmickry—a sentiment that most electric bikes seem to overlook. So, imagine my curiosity when I found myself in a modern, almost spaceship-like hangar, pondering how to bring a sleek, gunmetal grey BMW CE 04 to life. This all-electric “maxi-scooter” from the iconic German manufacturer had me yearning for a good old-fashioned ignition key slot – a touch of nostalgia in an age of innovation. Remember those simpler days?

Pricing and Propulsion

Crafted to take on its 400cc internal combustion counterparts, the BMW CE 04 marries a 60.6Ah (8.9kWh) battery pack, strategically situated low in the chassis for enhanced balance, with a robust 31kW (42hp) electric motor. This powerful combination seamlessly propels the rear wheel’s solid steel rim through a durable carbon belt-drive system, ensuring a dynamic and spirited ride.

In the United Kingdom, embracing the BMW CE 04 experience mandates an A1 license, requiring a comprehensive motorcycle test instead of a leisurely day of basic training. A similar criterion holds in North America, where the most potent CE 04 variants necessitate full motorcycle licensing, though certain markets offer a lower-powered option that eases the certification process.

Returning to the futuristic hangar scenario, let’s not forget the somewhat theatrical ignition process. Once the CE 04 is in motion, my first instinct is to switch the riding mode to Rain, recognizing the swift torque delivery that characterizes electric vehicles. A touch too eager on the throttle sends the rear wheel spinning on the polished floor, a testament to the electric motor’s immediate power.

However, the BMW CE 04 electric scooter reveals a more amiable side on open roads, where standard traction is restored. Shifting into Road or Dynamic modes unleashes exhilarating acceleration, helping justify the vehicle’s premium price tag.

Speaking of the price, it’s not for the faint of heart. The BMW CE 04 starts at £13,070/$12,195, surpassing the cost of similar-sized petrol-powered scooters by more than twofold. Yet, one can argue that the total ownership expense will be lower, thanks to cost-effective overnight charging from a standard socket. Furthermore, the absence of oil changes and complex engine servicing implies routine maintenance involves consumables like brake pads and tires, all things considered.

2023 BMW CE 04

  • Model: 2023 BMW CE 04
  • Electric Engine: Permanent-magnet liquid-cooled synchronous motor
  • Power Output: 31kW
  • Torque: 62Nm
  • Range: 81 miles
  • Charge Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Class: Electric scooter

Additional Specifications:

  • Dimensions: Width – 33.7 in (860 mm) with mirrors; Height – 45.3 in (1,150 mm)
  • Powerplant: EMP156 Synchronous Electric Motor with Liquid Cooling and Permanent Magnet
  • Manufacturer: BMW Motorrad
  • Seat height: 30.7 in (780 mm)
  • Top speed: 75 mph (121 km/h)
  • Weight: 509 lb (231 kg) (dry)

This updated title and information provide a comprehensive overview of the 2023 BMW CE 04, making it easier for enthusiasts to explore its key features and specifications.

Experience and Weight

The BMW CE 04 electric scooter boasts an impressive top speed of approximately 75mph, giving you the capability to conquer motorways without breaking a sweat. However, it’s the exhilarating acceleration from a standstill that truly sets this scooter apart, outpacing nearly everything except the most high-performance sports bikes. What’s remarkable is how the battery packs have been ingeniously integrated, resulting in a long and slender frame that effortlessly weaves through congested traffic, making urban commuting a breeze.

Despite weighing in at 231kg, the BMW CE 04 surprises with its nimbleness, thanks to the expert packaging by German engineers. BMW’s renowned commitment to quality shines through, as the scooter exudes a sense of premium craftsmanship and ride refinement that is unmistakably BMW.

The CE 04 incorporates regenerative braking, minimizing the need to use the brake levers, while advanced safety features such as dynamic traction control, ABS, and automatic stability control provide peace of mind during your rides. The automatic stability control ensures that electric motor torque is intelligently modulated to prevent any rear wheel slip, enhancing overall safety. In practical terms, testing these safety features on polished concrete floors is a testament to their effectiveness.

In terms of acceleration, the BMW CE 04 electric scooter effortlessly accelerates from 0 to 30mph and continues smoothly to 60mph. It’s so effortlessly powerful that, after a few hours of city riding, you might find yourself unintentionally pushing the boundaries of speed limits. However, when ridden sensibly, the electric powertrain proves to be exceptionally user-friendly. While many scooters are known for their simple twist-and-go operation, the CE 04 takes it a step further with its seamless torque delivery. This showcases the inherent beauty of electric motors and makes the riding experience exceptionally smooth and enjoyable.


Compared to the oil-spilling relics in my garage, BMW’s electric scooter stands out as a marvel of technology. It flaunts a spacious 10.25-inch TFT color screen that not only offers integrated map navigation but also seamlessly connects with your smartphone. This means you can stay connected on the go, receiving messages and making calls if you have a Bluetooth headset nestled within your helmet.

The user interface might initially feel a tad intricate, with a substantial jog wheel on the handlebars taking center stage. A simple click to the right grants access, while a left click takes you back, and rotating it up and down allows you to navigate through the menus. It might take a little practice, but in no time, you’ll be relishing the warmth of heated grips and the cozy seat warmer, turning your ride into a blissful experience.

While these features might not seem groundbreaking in the world of modern electric cars, they represent a significant leap forward for motorcycles. The integration of built-in satellite navigation is just starting to make its way into the two-wheeled realm, setting the stage for a tech-savvy and comfortable riding experience that’s been missing in many current motorcycles.

Charging and Everyday Usability

With an official range of 130km or approximately 80 miles, the BMW CE 04’s real-world mileage may vary based on various factors, such as your riding style, whether you have a passenger along, and even the weather conditions on the day. While this electric scooter can reach speeds of up to 75mph, it’s not designed for extensive road trips. Charging the CE 04 is quickest with a 6.9kW outlet, taking around 1 hour and 40 minutes for a full battery. If you’re looking to charge from 20 to 80 percent, that time is reduced to just 40 minutes, still longer than a quick restroom break or coffee stop.

However, this scooter is tailored for urban commuters, simplifying the journey from the suburbs to the city. Charging it from a domestic socket is highly convenient, taking a little over 4 hours for a full charge. This eliminates the need for bulky wall charging units, especially if you reside in an apartment. All you require is a reliable extension lead and a standard plug socket to ensure your BMW CE 04 electric scooter is ready to roll each morning. Additionally, an increasing number of cities are installing lower-powered charging points in roadside fixtures like lampposts, which may not be suitable for electric cars but perfectly cater to a scooter like the CE 04.

The absence of an engine and exhaust system has allowed the CE 04’s designers to incorporate clever storage solutions. You’ll find a ventilated drawer for your smartphone with a convenient USB-C connection, and the area under the seat offers ample space for storing your helmet. Moreover, a side locker provides room for charging cables or your passenger’s helmet, making this scooter a practical and versatile choice for your daily commute.

Essential Points

The BMW CE 04, an all-electric “maxi-scooter,” sets out to challenge its internal combustion counterparts on the fronts of performance and power. While adjusting to the immediate torque of electric vehicles may require a brief adaptation period, the CE 04 delivers a remarkably smooth and potent riding experience. Its acceleration rivals that of high-performance motorcycles, showcasing the true potential of electric mobility.

What further sets the CE 04 apart is its infusion of cutting-edge technology. Equipped with integrated map navigation and seamless smartphone compatibility, this electric scooter represents a technological leap within the scooter market. It promises a connected and convenient riding experience. However, it’s worth noting that the premium features come at a price, which might discourage some prospective buyers.

In Conclusion

When you look past the substantial price tag, the BMW CE 04 electric scooter and electric motorcycles, in general, unveil a world of practicality and everyday utility. There’s something inherently attractive about these machines that surpasses the allure of traditional petrol-engine bikes, at least in my personal experience. The simplicity of hopping on and riding, free from the noise that might disturb the neighbors, makes electric bikes exceptionally approachable. The absence of the dramatic engine roar, often criticized by electric vehicle skeptics, only adds to their appeal. They may not evoke the same nostalgia as classic motorcycles, but they’re undeniably less complex and considerably more versatile.

Admittedly, the current price point may not align with the budget of most riders. However, much like Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire, this is just the initial step. BMW has plans for a more compact and affordable CE 02 on the horizon, promising to bring emissions-free scooting within reach for a broader audience. As electric motorcycle technology continues to evolve, it won’t be long before more riders can experience the practicality and benefits these machines have to offer.

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