Energized camping trip

Progressive concepts, we love them at ChromeBurner. Therefore, we obviously couldn't ignore the futuristic looking BMW CE 04. One thing was clear immediately, we wanted to know more about it and so our marketing manager Sylvano Buskens hit the road with this new electric motorcycle. And it was clear that he had his own ideas about how to test the CE 04.

"Shall I still take that call? My brain and finger steer me toward the red symbol, yet I finally press green. Half an hour later, I have helped out my colleague, but turn out to be short of time myself to start my journey towards Oostende, Belgium. That's how it goes.

Like a hurricane, I hurry up the stairs to load my backpack. Clean underwear, toothbrush, deodorant, clean shirt and last but not least, a roll of toilet paper. Always comes in handy when a night of camping is planned. At the office, I was almost unanimously ridiculed. My plan to ride the BMW CE 04 to the Belgian coast was immediately answered with much laughter. So much for being nice colleagues, isn't it.

But hey, I am not easily swayed and so I set course for Oostende. A weekend of fresh air and complete relaxation, wonderful. My partner in crime, the brand-new CE 04, will probably give me that same feeling. It will take some getting used to, because normally I put a big V-twin to work. Let's see if I like moving myself around in silence this time."

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causing a little commotioncausing a little commotion

Causing a little commotion

"As I take the Rijksweg from Rijen to Breda, I immediately notice how nice it is to whiz through traffic silently for a change. Suddenly I hear very different sounds than I normally do when I ride my bike. Although I have been on the CE 04 for less than ten minutes, I have already noticed some other motorcyclists. It’s clear that they are straining to see what is passing them. I don't blame them, because this motorcycle is not exactly an ordinary design and even looks like it came right off the Star Wars set. For that matter, BMW’s design department clearly shows that they are not afraid to cause a stir in the somewhat traditional motorcycle world. Personally, I'm still not sure what to make of the CE 04's looks. Anyway, it is a bold move and that can really only be received in one way, with the necessary appreciation."

A little more foam

"Just when I am thinking that this BMW is ideal for commuting, I still have to make a comment. I make that discovery the moment I turn onto the highway, having just finally been able to leave the hustle and bustle of the city of Breda behind me. As I put the 42-hp electric motorcycle to work, it is not so much the lack of an incredible top speed that bothers me, but rather that the wind has quite a grip on me. Unfortunately, the protection that the windshield is supposed to give me is limited to a minimum. Other than that, things are actually pretty good aboard the CE 04, as the electric ride logically means that there are no annoying vibrations to be felt anywhere. Sometimes I almost feel like I'm floating above the road, also thanks to a good suspension package. The only point of attention in terms of comfort is at most the saddle. If you ride the CE 04 for a bit longer, the saddle seems to slowly turn into a hard board. A little more foam under my butt would be desirable."

a little more foama little more foam
addictive effectaddictive effect

Addictive effect

"As I check my route to Oostende once more in the obvious TFT display, I also notice the decreasing battery percentage. Although I haven't really bothered with the selected riding modes until now, I now dive into the available settings. Since I am currently not changing my right-hand position anyway, perhaps it would be better if I switched the riding mode from road to eco. That might save another few percent in battery life, although perhaps I should have thought about how to save as many miles as possible on one full battery charge earlier in my ride. In the city of Breda, I could have handled the stoplight sprints a bit more economical, but each time it still proved too tempting to use the BMW CE 04's equal torque. Although the electric motorcycle doesn’t have the power to fire away like a rocket, it does accelerate smoothly. And yes, that is addictive. In order to see the energy disappearing from the battery a little less quickly, I decide to stay behind a truck at a safe distance for a while. I am beginning to realize that it might be a difficult mission to arrive in Oostende in time."

Fast pace

"While still trying to ride economically, I am also already on the lookout for those familiar yellow arches. No, not the ones where I can satisfy my own hunger (although I actually like some already), but to supply the BMW with life juice. I am secretly starting to regret a little bit that I passed the FastNed charging point at Zegge. It still felt too early to take on my first "refueling", but now I see that the remaining mileage is rapidly dwindling. Now it’s hoping that I will still find a point on the A58 where I can treat the CE 04 to a fresh portion of energy.
While I still push on, it’s getting tighter underneath my Spidi clothes. Again I come across a refueling facility without a charging station. It's getting challenging whether or not I will make it. I decide to take the next service station anyway, but here too there is little I can do with my power cable. I take a break to think things over and at the same time have my friend Google find out whether I can still plug in the BMW somewhere. Unfortunately, I receive a not too satisfactory answer to my request. On my chosen highway, I seem to have overplayed all my options by now. A simple calculation makes me realize that I can no longer make it to the nearest charging location with the number of miles I have left at my disposal."

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in one goin one go

In one go

"It's time to switch to plan B, because this way it will probably take some time to reach Oostende. Since my main concern is to have a fun adventure with the CE 04, I am adamant and make a drastic change to my schedule. In order not to spend too much time on charging stations, I shorten my route and shift my focus. I now set my sights on Zeeland and find a suitable place from where I can make a nice return trip tomorrow. I dig deep into my memories, as I enjoyed a nice vacation on the island of Tholen a few years back.

Although I don't immediately come up with the name of the place, I remember the name of the camping all too well. After all, it is impossible not to remember the name. Quickly I type 'De Zeester' into Google and immediately I'm hooked. Scherpenisse, that was it, yes. While setting up the navigation, I also check how far I can still get. With the current status of my battery I should be able to reach my final destination in the nick of time, and luckily I remember that the nearby restaurant has a charging station. I take my chances and decide to ride to the camping in one go."

Fierce steering

"Although the CE 04's battery is certainly not dead yet, I don't feel entirely comfortable riding to the camping on secudairy roads. I begin to have doubts. Maybe stop and still put the battery on an electric drip? The fear of the bike stopping starts to grow anyway. I quickly search on the large TFT display of the BMW for the first opportunity and it even seems to be on route. Ideal scenario!

Because I have now left the highway, this electric motorcycle also begins to rev up as I approach corners with regularity. The small 15-inch tires stick nicely to the asphalt and I try to steer a little more fiercely. The BMW feels wonderfully agile, although I also feel some uncertainty at steep inclines. Then again, maybe that's not exactly the terrain you choose this CE 04 for. Due to the delightful winding roads, I hardly notice that I have now arrived at the gas station. It takes a while to find their charging station, but finally there is the redeeming moment to treat the battery to a healthy portion of energy."

fierce steeringfierce steering
next attemptnext attempt

Next attempt

"Cursing, I stuff my charging cable back into the compartment underneath the saddle. Although I have the optional fast charger, this charging station doesn't seem to want to cooperate. The problem is that this charging station is set up for a different type of quick-charge cable. That’s nice! Although we have only just entered the electric age, it is already a jumble of the various charging options. There is no other option than to ride very carefully in the direction of the brasserie near the camping for another attempt to charge the battery. My current range is still only 27 kilometers and so I am hoping that the BMW is somewhat accurate with the numbers shown. I quickly check the route again and have a slight panic attack when I see that I still have 14 kilometers to go. I have to be very, very eco-conscious riding towards my final destination. I pull away at all traffic lights like a very old lady in a nineties Suzuki Alto and a quick calculation brings me in a positive mood. Thanks to my careful work, I even manage to increase the range I was given and spend the last few kilometers aboard the CE 04 with less tension. Not much later, the brasserie looms in the distance and a cry of joy escapes me. Man, how happy can you be to reach your final destination. Before I turn into the parking lot of the brasserie, I take one last look at the BMW's display. Only fifteen kilometers of range left."

Big bummer

"Almost willing to call my girlfriend so she can tell me I haven't gone completely crazy. I know with one hundred percent certainty that there used to be a charging station here, but it has disappeared apparently. Strange, because surely the number of places where you can power your electric vehicle is not decreasing in the Netherlands. Although at first I am extremely disappointed, I am in any case glad to have reached the brasserie and thus also camping de Zeester. I don't expect them to have a charging station, but I can probably tap some power through a normal outlet. As soon as I report to the front desk, manager Hans is immediately helpful. "Just pitch your tent first, and I'll lay out an extension cable for you. Later you can just plug in your motorcycle." To be honest, I am also very happy that I now have a night of camping ahead of me and don't have to leave the camping to get something to eat. Still, it's a good thing that at the last minute I still managed to get a can of hot dog sausages from the pantry and put them in my backpack. That way the BMW CE 04 can take its time to charge. It will need it now that I have to charge via the ‘normal’ electricity network. Then it can take a few hours to have a full battery at my disposal again."

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no rushno rush

No rush

"After a good night's sleep and a nice hot shower, I pack my things again. It is still early in the morning, because I want to have enough time today to enjoy the area where I am now. I have a small tour on the program, before I go home again. I make a promise to myself, no matter what, that I will not take a single kilometer of highway this day. My girlfriend is already informed that it might be a late one, because you never know how many times I'll have to put the BMW on the charger.

It is time to check how my German companion is doing, and gladly I see on the display that it has a full battery. Unfortunately I can't say the same, since I can't score breakfast at the camping. I have to go to the local supermarket for a bottle of orange juice and a bag of buns. Probably the familiar way for every traveling motorcyclist. After finding a bench to satisfy my hunger in peace, I make a suitable tour on my phone. And not too long, of course, because if I learned anything yesterday... Electric riding will certainly provide you with the necessary motorcycling pleasure, but make sure to hurry as little as possible. After all, if you do, you already know that there will be plenty of stress on your adventure."

Many thanks to BMW Motorrad dealer Mofra in Rijen for lending us their CE04 and Camping de Zeester for their hospitality.


Ride this or another day trip yourself? Check out our tips for day trips here.