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BMW SIMPLE concept - blending motorcycles with cars

BMW has a new concept vehicle dubbed "SIMPLE" that combines some of the attributes of a motorcycle with some of the creature comforts of a car. Yet it is incredibly fuel efficient and judging from the video seems like it would be a lot of fun too.

There's no chance this vehicle will make it to production any time soon but it's an interesting concept nevertheless.

SIMPLE – light in weight, low on energy

Simple combines features and advantages from both automobiles and motorcycles. The concept owes its passenger cell to the car, providing protection from wind and weather as well as shielding the driver from exterior noise and offering occupants a high degree of safety in the event of an accident. The motorcycle inspired the slim design of the Simple (at just 110 centimetres wide) and its configuration for two people sitting one behind the other. Plus it boasts the dynamic driving style typical of a two-wheeler, allowing you to lean right into corners as desired. The designation “simple” is an acronym of the project name “A sustainable and innovative mobility product for low energy consumption”.

The BMW designers initially planned a small vehicle with low weight and minimal aerodynamic drag properties. Following a concept phase of several months, the pooled requirements and ideas gave rise in 2005 to a vehicle based on tilting technology. In contrast to other vehicle concepts in which only the passenger cell tilts during cornering, here all the driver has to do is determine a change in direction for the appropriate tilt to follow automatically. The stand-out feature of the Simple concept is that it activates the hydraulics only in exceptional situations, for example if the vehicle threatens to become unstable during extremely slow driving, when righting the vehicle during standstill or in extreme situations such as drifting. Otherwise, Simple rides like a motorcycle and, beyond natural gravity and gyroscopic forces, requires no energy whatsoever to lean into a corner. The passenger also benefits from this tilting technology as he feels no transverse forces and, particularly during rapid changes of direction, need not compensate for any lateral movements.

All that is needed to power this lightweight vehicle with a kerb weight of approx. 450 kg is a 36 kW combustion engine. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h is estimated at under ten seconds and the vehicle has an excellent drag coefficient of 0.18. Using the electric motor and the combustion engine, the Simple would need just 6 kWh (equivalent to 0.7 litres of petrol) or two litres over 100 km.


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