BMW Oddly Envisions Elevated EV-Only Road?!?


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, 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.

BMW has made major investments into electric mobility in recent years, is on pace to hit 100,000 plug-ins sold in 2017 (~90k through November), and the firm states it will offer an electrified version of every model in its lineup by 2020.

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33 Comments on "BMW Oddly Envisions Elevated EV-Only Road?!?"

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is this any crazier than what comes out of elon musk’s mouth? the answer is yes but only by a slim margin and because it’s related to something tangible to begin with whereas what musk talks about is often tangentially ridiculous.

I would advocate an elevated single car system, each car would seat 8-12 people and take off each minute.
If you make the cars light and gapped you can make the elevated sections less expensive.

I don’t see how this is “odd.” London is working on a network of elevated bicycle superhighways, and this looks similar — except it’s for electrified bicycles and adds amenities. Looks like a feasible way to improve mobility within a city. And I like how it’s still human-scaled.

@Michael S “a network of elevated bicycle superhighways” ? Superhighways with speed less than 30 MPH ? What is a highway with speed limit of 60 MPH ? Hyperhighway?

Of course, the real difference is that Musk is making real what he says, while BMW just hypes things.

Right? I’m already saving for that nice beach condo on Mars

@terminaltrip421, didn’t you read the article ? The propose speed limit on these stupid bike lanes is 16 MPH, slower than bicycle speed.

What is odd about this?

Many places have HOV/EV lanes.

Its basically the same idea as having dedicated public transit roads, which work well partially due to very limited ingress/egress points. The same would work well for cars, especially with automated driving mode.

The “raised” portion is likely a direct result of this coming out of China where density is very high.

I’m surprised it has so many lanes though. Reducing the size and limiting to vehicles under a certain weight could significantly reduce the cost to build it, and since there are few ingress/egress points, the throughput would be high.

Your last paragraph is exactly what I was thinking. Limiting the traffic on the raised roadway to bicycles and foot traffic would allow the roadway to be built to a lighter standard, thereby reducing the cost. Cover it to keep snow and rain off but leave the sides open for fresh air. Even a 18′ wide roadway (3′ for foot traffic on each side) would handle a lot of bikes and given the slow traffic on the main roads, the bikes may outpace the cars.
A 26′ wide would allow for a very large amount of bicycles while still allowing a 5′ walking lane on either side. Even the wider roadway would have a relatively small shadow on the ground.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Here in the states we should expand the HOV lanes to force ICE drivers in an ever shrinking lane count/availability.
Say, where there is 1 HOV on a 5 lane, make it 2 HOV on a 5 lane. Then a few years later, 3 HOV on a 5 lane……

Just make them take side streets!!! 😉

Beware of unintended consequences, there. If you progressively banish all ICE vehicles into start-stop-land on surface roads, you will a.) piss off a lot of voters, b.) piss off a lot of people who cannot afford EVs, and c.) generate exponentially more emissions without regen. There are serious questions of environmental inequality there. Sending 50% of traffic through urban neighborhoods might send 100% of the issue through state legislatures and the courts. I wouldn’t assume EVs will come out on top.

All tax payers are not going to pay for something used by 1% in the U.S.

So Musk says we’ll dig holes under every city with elevators all along the side of streets to reduce traffic and the media shouts ‘hell yeah, this is awesome.
BMW does the same but with elevated roads, and the headlines are a complete 180?
Such a double standard in reporting, getting a little tired of the Musk is the only visionary bs.

In a nutshell, yes!

Let’s not also forget the whole hyperloop boondoggle. Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Yea , Just like Groundhogs !

DJ said:

“Let’s not also forget the whole hyperloop boondoggle.”

Gee, something tells me that if you weren’t a serial Tesla basher, and if Elon Musk hadn’t been the one to propose Hyperloop, that you wouldn’t dismiss it so cavalierly. 🙄

<i<Let's not forget that the original Hyperloop Alpha concept used an elevated tube system, much closer to elevated highways or elevated light trains (like Chicago’s “El”), or the elevated roadways shown here, rather than Elon’s more recent mashup concept using The Boring Co. tunnels with Hyperloop capsules running in them.

The original Hyperloop concept is being worked on by more than one company, and might actually result in a practical system someday; so rather far from a “boondoggle”!

Hyperloop One may be the first to install, I hope it starts with cargo.

016 MPH == silly.
200 MPH == more useful.

See, easy.

Go to Bangkok, and you will see elevated roads everywhere. They are ugly, and make the city a very unpleasant place to leave.

But coming from a company that cares about selling more vehicules and not urban planning, I guess it makes sense.

Hmm, looking at images of Bangkok streets, it looks like the elevated road system, in moving dense traffic and mass transit systems above street level, keeps the city far more livable, appealing, and accessible for pedestrians and scooter traffic.

Imagine how much more unlivable it would be if all that traffic was down at street level!

Heavy elevated road ways are not desirable in earthquake prone areas.

The problem isn’t not enough roads the problem is more in the way that users pay (or not) to use them. t

Absolutely correct. A key component of autonomous ridesharing vehicle networks, if and when we ever get them, will be the ability to price based on demand. You can’t build your way out of congestion if the marginal cost of a trip is $0. (Well, you can, but your city will end up 80% roads. Single-occupant vehicles are terribly space inefficient in an urban context)

The solution to congestion may be shared resources. Cars that carry more than one person reduce congestion.

The first picture looks like a complete dystopia.


Major infrastructure project need to be conceived for the reality ten years down the road and into the future. At that point, connected, self-driving electric cars running bumper to pumper will tremendously increase capacity of current roads and free-up many lanes. Regarding the elevated bike paths, if still needed at all: That’d be so much fun, to float through the city in scenic fashion.

“…a network of raised highways would be for the exclusive use of two-wheeled electric vehicles.”

This is no more unrealistic and no more impractically expensive than the concept for limited access highways which General Motors’ “Futurama” showcased at the 1939 World’s Fair; multi-lane superhighways running everywhere, with hard barriers between each lane! (see video linked below)

“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, BMW believes.”

If that’s really what they are proposing, then it’s insane. Who would spend that kind of money building such a massive transportation infrastructure, only to artificially restrict the throughput to much lower than it could handle? Highways should carry cars at highway speed!

They could lessen the risk of accident even more if they restricted the speed to a 2-3 MPH walking pace!

Big deal, they must of visited Japan to get the idea !

When will over-population stop?
Do we really want to go there?

Ecologists say the maximum is about 9 billion people, after that there are major problems. That is around 2050.