It's a neat idea but doesn't seem like a very realistic way to solve this complex problem.
BMW has investigated the major problem of traffic in congested cities, and the company has arrived upon a simple solution – build more roads. The company calls the concept the Vision E³ Way, and the three Es stand for elevated, electric, and efficient. Once in place, a network of raised highways would be for the exclusive use of two-wheeled electric vehicles.
The Vision E³ Way concept comes from the BMW Group Technology Office China in Shanghai. The company would create a modular network of raised roads that would strategically link major traffic hubs, public transportation stations, and shopping centers. The speed limit once on these highways would be as high as just 16 miles per hour (25 kilometers per hour), which would lessen the risk of accidents, the BMW believes. If someone doesn’t have an electric bike to take onto these routes, a person could rent one at the entrance onto the highway.
BMW would put a roof over most sections of the elevated highway for protection against the rain and sun. A cooling system would use rainwater to maintain a pleasant temperature inside, too.
As cities grow around the world, drivers put more stress on the existing road network. This makes air pollution worse and generally harms a person’s quality of life. BMW’s solution doesn’t appear to be the answer, though. Elevated roads already exist and aren’t an immediate solution to reducing traffic congestion. Making more exclusively for electric bikes doesn’t seem to fix the situation, either.
Gallery: 2018 BMW i8 Roadster teaser
BMW has made major investments into electric mobility in recent years. For example, the brand will have five EVs at the upcoming LA Auto Show. In addition, the firm will offer an electrified version of every model in its lineup by 2020.
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Gallery: BMW Vision E3 Elevated Road Concept
Innovative urban mobility concepts for the future. Elevated road concept "BMW Vision E³ Way" raises emission-free two-wheeler mobility in megacities to a new level.
As a provider of premium mobility products and services, the BMW Group is constantly in search of answers to the question: what will move us (forward) in the future? As part of the stratgey NUMBER ONE > NEXT and in view of the challenges to come, BMW Group developers are working on visionary mobility solutions that go well beyond established conventions.
Munich. As a provider of premium mobility products and services, the BMW Group is constantly in search of answers to the question: what will move us (forward) in the future? In the past, the BMW Group has already presented pioneering solutions for future individual mobility with a range of different concept vehicles as well as the visionary studies presented to mark its centenary. As part of the stratgey NUMBER ONE > NEXT and in view of the challenges to come, BMW Group developers are working on visionary mobility solutions that go well beyond established conventions.
Innovations that reach far beyond the conventional vehicle context. The world of individual and sustainability mobility faces enormous challenges in conurbations. As urbanisation progresses, more and more people are crowding into cities, so conventional mobility concepts and local public transportation are reaching the limits of their capability. Congestion and high levels of air pollution are the result, which in turn leads to constraints on the quality of life.
The BMW Group's "Research, New Technologies, Innovations" division is a unique competence centre that is devoted to addressing this and other challenges.
“Our goal is to link sustainable and efficient mobility with a high quality of living in cities. We use new technologies as well as our creativity in order to create innovative approaches as the BMW Vision E³ Way“, explains Dr. Gerd Schuster, Senior Vice President Research, New Technologies and Innovations.
The "BMW Group Technology Offices" in Mountain View (CA), Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul guarantee proximity to the world's technological hotspots, while a central department for trend and technology scouting collates and supplements the insights acquired in the field. Once challenges and needs have been identified, they are then fed into concrete research projects.
BMW Vision E³ Way – emission-free two-wheeler mobility at a new level.Developed at the BMW Group Technology Office China in Shanghai, the BMW Vision E³ Way project shows a visionary mobility concept that is designed not just to specifically address the challenges faced by megacities – such as traffic congestion and air pollution – but to provide a solution that is both simple and effective. It consists of an elevated road concept for electrically powered two-wheel vehicles which links key traffic hubs in urban conurbations. The three E's stand for "elevated", "electric" and "efficient" – the concept's defining properties. The use of roadways that are elevated above existing roads means the project generates additional traffic capacity. The BMW Vision E³ Way is explicitly conceived for locally emission-free single-track mobility concepts only ("electric"), such as e-bikes, the BMW Motorrad Concept Link and the recently presented BMW Motorrad X2 City – likewise developed by the "Research, New Technologies, Innovations" division. The elevated road is simple and modular in design, economical to build as a result, and provides a fast, direct link between key traffic hubs, making it the perfect alternative for commuters travelling up to 15 km. This makes use of the elevated road very efficient not only in terms of cost but also as regards travel time ("efficient").
"The BMW Vision E³ Way opens up a whole new dimension of mobility in overcrowded conurbations – efficient, convenient and safe. It works by simply creating space for two-wheel zero-emissions traffic," explains Dr. Markus Seidel, Director BMW Group Technology Office China. "In China, more than a billion people will be living in cities by 2050. The country will become the global incubator for numerous mobility innovations such as the BMW Vision E 3 Way," Seidel adds, "after all, nowhere else is there such an urgent need for action."
The BMW Vision E³ Way was elaborated in collaboration with the Tongji University in Shanghai. The university possesses outstanding expertise in a number of areas that are relevant to the concept. Headed by the renowned Professors Jun Ma, various departments as the „School of Automotive Studies“, as well as the „College of Design and Innovation“, were involved in the project.
Emission-free and safe. Ramps and sluice systems are used to connect the BMW Vision E³ Way to the regular road network, underground stations, other traffic hubs, and even shopping malls. By shifting single-track mobility to its own spatial level, the BMW Vision E³ Way makes daily commuting not just faster but safer, too. The fact that is used solely by electrically powered two-wheel vehicles means that collisions with cars are ruled out. The general risk of accidents is further reduced by means of an automatic speed limit of 25 km/h. In addition, there is an elaborate system of lanes that separates filtering traffic from flowing traffic: not until travel speed has been reached do the two merge.
Convenient and efficient. The BMW Vision E 3 Way is not just fast and safe to use, however, it is also convenient. Those who do not already own a vehicle approved for the BMW Vision E³Way can still use the facility spontaneously by means of a sharing scheme that provides rental vehicles at each access point. The elevated road is largely roofed over, ensuring protection from rain and heat as well as sufficient ventilation. A cooling system with purified rainwater creates pleasant temperatures: this can also be used to clean the road surface at night.
The outstanding feature of the BMW Vision E³ Way concept is that it takes existing emission-free mobility solutions on two wheels such as e-bikes and the BMW Motorrad X2 City and places them on a new traffic level: this means the vision can be realised quickly and without the need for additional space. Initial feasibility studies demonstrate that a concept such as the BMW Vision E³ Way can significantly reduce congestion, emissions, travel time and the risk of accidents. Traffic flow is permanently optimised by means of automated video surveillance systems and artificial intelligence as well as through the integration of smart city ecosystems. And the best thing is that its modular design and free scalability make the concept essentially suitable for use in any megacity.
Premium solutions in the future, too. The BMW Vision E³ Way is just one possible solution to the question "What will move us (forward) in the future?" At the same time, it exemplifies the innovative spirit of the BMW Group – its capacity to produce concepts such as this that extend far beyond the conventional vehicle context. "Our aspiration in the future will continue to be innovation and technology leadership at the premium level," explains Dr. Rainer Daude, Project Director Special Projects and Mobility Concepts. "The very meaning of the term 'premium' will change in future too, of course. Attributes such as 'straightforward', 'convenient', 'efficient', 'safe' and 'emission-free' are becoming increasingly important. In concrete terms, this means being able to offer solutions that meet all mobility needs, with the capacity to make better use of travel time and/or to cover distances in less time – offering the highest possible level of safety, convenience and efficiency."
The BMW Vision E³ Way forms part of the BMW Group strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.
With the strategy the BMW Group strives for the transformation and shaping of the individual mobility of the future. The development of new technologies and innovations have always been part of the BMW Group DNA.