BMW have filed patents for a supercharger powered by an electric motor.
A traditional supercharger uses an engine’s mechanics to force more air into the engine, but powering the supercharger via an electric motor means the unit could kick in lower down the rev range and won’t sap any power from the engine.
Of course, superchargers aren’t completely alien to the world of motorcycles. The monstrous Kawasaki H2 makes use of a supercharger to pump out 200bhp. That’s not a lot, but the H2R pumps out a claimed 326bhp with ram air. In terms of forced air induction, Suzuki have also been toying with the idea of a turbocharger for what seems like decades at this point.
Like much automotive technology, electronic superchargers first appeared in Formula One before making their way onto production cars. While it sounds like a fairly simple idea, the patent points to it requiring complicated management systems to make the system work as intended.
The patent images use an old-school, asymmetrical S1000RR, but I doubt this means BMW would look to use the technology in their flagship superbike. Firstly, the S1000RR produces plenty of power, thank you very much. Secondly, the S1000RR exists to go racing, and WSB rules – as well as those of other domestic superbike championships – only allow naturally-aspirated engines.