Do you remember the BMW C1? The funky scooter from the German automaker has become something of a two-wheeled cult classic. The scooter made either 15 or 18 horsepower, depending on which model you got. But the most notable thing about the C1 was its futuristic windshield/roof combination and its emphasis on safety – with its integrated seatbelt, it was said to be so safe as to not require a helmet.
BMW got out of the scooter game when it ended production of the C1 in 2003, but it's poised to reemphasize that market in a big way. According to Bloomberg, BMW is looking to revive its scooter offerings, which already includes the C600 Sport and C650 GT. The lineup is set to be bolstered by the electric C Evolution e-Scooter.
BMW hinted at the return of the C1 a few years back with the C1-E concept (above, right), but it merely laid the groundwork from the e-Scooter.
This renewed focus may have something to do with rival Audi and its recent purchase of Ducati, as some are suggesting that the move has stoked BMW's desire to broaden its product portfolio to better compete with the Italian motorcycle builder.
If it's a piece of the city-dweller market that BMW is after, they may also have competition from niche automaker Smart. Daimler's urban specialist will introduce an electric version of its ForTwo city car later this year. Smart also makes a bicycle with electric propulsion that is available in Europe for around $3,500 (it's set to go on sale in the U.S. in 2014). This will be followed by an electric scooter.
Will BMW's renewed efforts in the scooter market be enough to fend off growing competition in the city vehicle market? Only time will tell.