Of course in an increasingly warming world, bikes also need to grow with the times—and that means getting more from less. In order to hit stricter EU emissions goals, Bosch is making changes in engine management systems (EMS) to maximize efficiency, like adjusting the angle of their fuel injection system to minimize the emissions from cold start.
It seems like such a simple idea, but as the EU plans on rolling out new emissions standards in 2020, every modification is going be necessary to stay legal. Luckily, Bosch’s system will give you onboard analytics and adjust fuel efficiency to reduce consumption by up to 16 percent.
But a fuel-free world also means that scooters, immensely popular in Europe, are getting major upgrades as well. The Govecs and NIU scooters we tested in Boxberg can go slightly north of 60 miles on a single charge, and while that’s a fraction of the range compared to a Chevy Bolt or Tesla Model 3, it’s still pretty good if you’re packed in a big city where population numbers are only growing.
“It is not about going hundreds of miles a day or replacing someone’s car” Harald Kröger, president of automotive electronics at Bosch, told Popular Mechanics. “It’s more about having this as an alternative. Riding a scooter in a city is a different way of life.”
The secret to green energy success is creating efficient, inexpensive, and easy-to-charge scooters. Coup, a Bosch subsidiary, is a scooter-sharing service in Europe that operates much like the bike-sharing companies you see in the U.S. Renting Gogoro scooters, users swap removable battery packs at kiosks throughout the city, tackling the biggest problems with modern electric transportation like distance limits and recharge times. First launched in Berlin last year, the company announced in May that it’s now expanding to Paris as well.
But whether it’s a scooter or motorcycle, all this technology is impressive but raises some questions. If you have these safety systems, does it remove the human instinct? Well, yes and no. You can still be taught to ride properly and not brake in a corner or let go of the brake on a steep hill, but the tech exists as a safety net that can save your life. “We don’t promote [this tech] as a way to push the limit of physics,” Szczotka says. “It’s meant to be there as a backup to prevent a potential accident.”
With Bosch and other motorcycle tech companies working out the finer details of our two-wheeled future, the primary goals seem clear—save something, whether it’s a biker, driver, pedestrian, or the planet.
That seems like a goal worth driving toward.