C1 Back From the Scrap Heap
Daimler’s struggling Smart division — maker of the smart fortwo — should watch its back: BMW may be gunning for its market share for compact urban transport.
The latest evidence is the resurrection of the C1, a roofed urban transport scooter with integrated seat belt, which originally went on sale with a gasoline motor in 2000, as an electric concept vehicle. While not currently tapped for production, the C1 E, as it is now known, is slated for the stable of the company’s MegaCityVehicle project, which aims to produce a range of affordable urban transport.
Unlike the gas-powered C1 — which lasted a mere two years on the market amid dismal sales figures — the C1 E will be driven by a 27-horsepower electric motor powered by a 125-volt lithium-ion battery; the whole shebang is further enhanced by BMW’s EfficientDynamics program. The same steel frame from the original C1 extends up and over the driver’s head, and the integrated seat belt eliminates the need to wear a helmet under European road safety regulations.
It is odd, considering that BMW pulled the plug so early on the original C1 (due to quality problems and the aforementioned lack of sales), that the company wouldn’t give it another production run, especially considering that the original iteration was pulled just before the scooter boom in Europe. However, if the point is simply using the C1 E as a starting point from where the company can develop more interesting projects, we suppose it’s still a worthwhile move.