It is not often that we get to tell you about a car capable of reaching over 200 km/h, while using less than 2 liters of fuel per 100 km. Yesterday, BMW introduced such a concept vehicle at the company's museum in Munich. With angles like a stealth bomber, the BMW Simple concept is a three-wheeler that measures just 110 centimeters wide. It is meant to combine the protective qualities of an automobile, with the speed and maneuverability of a motorcycle.
The name "Simple" is meant as a first-letter mnemonic, standing for, "A sustainable and innovative mobility product for low energy consumption." It is both lightweight and aerodynamic, helping it to be ultra-efficient. The 450 kilogram vehicle produces 50 grams of CO2 per 100 km.
Built as a solution to urban traffic jams, the car has a shorter length than the MINI Cooper. Despite this, height was kept about level with the BMW 5er to provide a decent level of comfort and headroom.
Performance is aided by an automatic tilting technology, where one side of the car is lifted when going into a corner. The vehicle's hydraulics keep the car stable whether going slow, or if the driver attempts to drift. Despite the respectable top speed, acceleration is much slower than many motorcycles. Utilizing a 48 horsepower engine, the BMW Simple travels from 0 to 100 km/h in about ten seconds.
Also introduced was the BMW Clever concept, or "Compact Low Emission Vehicle for Urban Transport," first seen in 2006. The seven-year old project is just 3 meters long by 1 meter wide by 1.4 meters tall, and weighs less than 400 kg. It has enough room for two people inside its aluminum space frame.
With a 230 cc CNG engine, the Clever gets to 60 km/h in about seven seconds. It has a top speed of 100 km/h, and a range of 200 km. The low price of compressed natural gas translates to a cost of roughly one euro per 100 km, when carrying two people.
The Clever is surprisingly safe as well, using a Formula One-inspired crash absorbtion system. Special airbags and seatbelts means this car actually complies with Euro NCAP crash testing standards, even in a 56 km/h head-on collision.
Both vehicles are on display now at the BMW Museum in Munich.