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BMW Motorrad working on a bike with flexible tank

Nizam Shaikh
Written by Nizam Shaikh

New patents have been filed by BMW Motorrad for a flexible fuel tank which is expected to go in the BMW R 1200 GS. The patents show that the variable capacity fuel tank is likely to be made with a flexible material and it could change the lower shape of the tank to accommodate an additional battery designed to power an electric motor, which leads us to believe that the earlier reports of the electric powered BMW motorcycle could be true.

To recap, we had reported earlier, that BMW Motorrad had filed a patent of an electric front wheel drive technology, which is expected to be used on the BMW R 1200 GS motorcycle. The hub-mounted electric motor will increase the off-road capabilities of the GS series bikes as it will be able to provide extra torque and grip from the electric motor, when required, for slow speed manoeuvres in tight situations.

The motorcycle will be powered by the conventional engine and the front wheel drive will only be used to help the motorcycle to get through rugged terrains and to tackle through steep slopes on loose surfaces where grip is of absolute importance. It will also give the rider better control in off-road situations like snow, sand and slush. The system will be designed to only be activated at slow speeds for obvious safety reasons and the system will increase the maneuverability of the motorcycle at slow speeds and also by being bi-directional help the rider reverse the motorcycle with ease.

So why do we need a flexible tank? The advantage to this design would be when the hybrid capabilities are not being used the extra battery can be removed and the fuel tank capacity can be restored, for example, when the bike is being used for long distance highway touring.

The hybrid GS with the electric front wheel drive and the variable capacity fuel tank is expected to be showcased at the EICMA Motor Show in Milan which will be held in November this year.