2023 BMW CE-04

The BMW CE-04 isn’t cheap, but delivers a smooth and comfortable ride without the complexity of a true motorcycle
The BMW CE-04 isn’t cheap, but delivers a smooth and comfortable ride without the complexity of a true motorcycle

by Adi Desai | September 5, 2023


There seems to be an odd stigma with scooters in North America, and I didn’t quite understand it before I spent some time in Tuscany earlier this summer. On our side of the pond, the public regularly confuses scooters with e-mopeds, also affectionately known as DUI-machines. These electric scooter-like things don’t require a licence to operate, and more often than not, are piloted by those who have had their licence pulled. Curious to see how a modern electric scooter would fare in my daily commute, I spent some time with the 2023 BMW CE-04.

The CE-04 is a fully electric scooter, capable of speeds of up to 130 km/h. It’s a rather odd-looking thing with futuristic styling cues, a small storage compartment that held my work briefcase and lunch, and traditional scooter ergonomics. Getting on and off was a breeze for my six-foot frame, and the CE-04 is actually surprisingly nimble to manoeuvre in and out of tight spaces.

What had me most curious about this electric scooter was the real-world range, and how it would hold up to my mild commute. This sort of thing could be appealing for up to eight months of the year, for those who are so inclined. Between BMW Motorrad’s Canadian headquarters and my house, I had roughly 68 kilometres to cover, entirely highway. The CE-04’s full range indicated 120 kilometers, which dropped to 106 upon disabling “Eco” mode.

Upon pick-up, I had to traverse across Toronto using a 400-series highway, averaging speeds between 100 and 120 km/h. With minimal wind, the CE-04 had no issues getting up to highway speed using the 42-horsepower, 31 kW motor, though the regenerative braking is something that definitely takes getting used to on two wheels. It’s worth mentioning this was the first electric two-wheeled experience I had, short of an electrically assisted bicycle.

Then the fun began. As with any electric car, it became evident the CE-04’s 148-volt battery does not like highway speeds. The stated range on the electronic cluster would drop by two or three kilometre for every actual kilometre travelled. This wouldn’t really work — if I trusted the readout, I wouldn’t be able to make it home on the charge. So, I hopped off the highway and took urban streets. It would take much longer to get home, but the slower overall speed and regeneration when braking for traffic lights would preserve more range.

It was now well into the night, and I was about four kilometres from home when the range dropped to a critical level, with the little BMW asking nicely to find a charger. It was pouring rain at this point, so I decided to brave the storm and push on toward home rather than stop, pull out my phone, and search for a charging station. It did make it home thankfully, and using my Level 2 charger in the garage and the scooter’s display showing a 6.9 kW charging speed, the CE-04 was able to fully recharge in just over an hour. On regular Level 1 charger — your standard 110 V household outlet — at 2.3 kW, it will recharge in about four hours.

Okay, so the BMW CE-04 doesn’t like an hour of straight highway commuting, but this comes as no surprise. The beauty of this little scooter is the incredible road manners in an urban setting. My daily commute to the office is roughly 12 kilometres on local streets, with speed limits between 60 and 70 km/h, and plenty of traffic lights. The CE-04 is brilliant at this, and the suspension soaks up road imperfections with ease. My back was comfortable, the riding position is good, and overall response from the electric motor is just lovely.

The CE-04’s controls are pretty good. There is media connectivity that will pair to your helmet’s communication system, a radio, and a fairly advanced trip computer all housed in a vivid 10.25-inch LCD display that uses the same font as the iDrive infotainment in BMW’s cars. It’s all controlled using a rotary dial — just like iDrive — on the handlebars, which comes perfectly within reach of the rider’s left hand. Standard controls like the indicators, high-beams, and horn are exactly where expected, and everything feels well-built.

There is a small storage pocket just below the left side of the handlebars that could probably hold an iPhone that’s about five years old. Unfortunately my current iPhone 14 Pro (no, not the Max) just barely didn’t fit, and neither did my wallet. Having just an inch more space in this compartment would be nice to tuck away small carry items that may be uncomfortable to keep in the rider’s pockets.

As a daily commuter for those who live in climates that can support it, the 2023 BMW CE-04 is a delightful ride. It’s nimble, comfortable, and extremely smooth. Places like California, where lane splitting in urban traffic is legal, would be a great place for runabouts like the CE-04 because it would work well to genuinely speed up the commute. At $15,695 before fees and taxes, the CE-04 isn’t cheap, but delivers a smooth and comfortable riding experience without the liability and complexity of a true motorcycle.

See Also

2023 BMW S1000RR

2022 BMW S1000R

2021 BMW R1250R Exclusive

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About Adi Desai


Adi has been living his childhood dream ever since he launched DoubleClutch.ca Magazine in 2012. He's also an award-winning pianist, so if you can't find him behind the wheel or tinkering on one of his many toys, he's either binging The Office or playing his baby grand piano.

Current Toys: '07 V8 Vantage 6MT, '97 550 Maranello, '91 Diablo, '91 911 Carrera, '04 S2000, '00 M5, '90 Camry AllTrac, '09 LS 460 AWD, '24 LC 500 Performance