“My motorcycle is my tool.”
Since he was fifteen years old, actor Hannes Jaenicke has been obsessed with motorcycles. His dedication to environmental protection began at around the same time. In the interview, he tells us how he arrived at these passions, why motorcycling and sustainability are not contradictory and how he drew looks at the Berlinale with the BMW C evolution.
My father was a biochemist and not exactly the founder of green thinking. But it was probably my mother’s attachment to nature that got me and my sister thinking like this. My mother ran the household very sustainably and never threw anything away unnecessarily. She would only buy milk in glass bottles and always tried to avoid plastic.
Well, when I was a teenager, my parents would read the Süddeutsche Zeitung. I saw a picture of a small dingy which was sailing towards a huge whaler and being shot at with harpoons and water cannons. At first I found those guys cool and thought it was wrong to slaughter whales. So I joined Greenpeace. You get this newsletter, have your eyes opened and then become angry and eventually you want to do something yourself. But the reason I actually joined was because of that picture in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
I started at 15 and since then I have been an absolute motorcycling fanatic. First I had a Kreidler moped, followed by a Zündapp 125 and a 550 Suzuki. I worked my way up and have been riding a BMW ever since I could afford it. It is simply miles ahead, both technically and mechanically. I have ridden every brand on this planet. But in the end, BMW is my motorcycle of choice.
My motorcycle is my vehicle, my everyday tool. I have two saddle bags and a big rucksack and ride my bike to work as well. It's definitely more eco-friendly than a car: it consumes less, takes up less parking space – and I don’t have to circle the block five times to find one either. Life is too short to be caught up in traffic jams or spend half an hour looking for a parking space in the centre of Munich.
The BMW C evolution combines motorcycling with sustainability. What experiences have you had with the maxi scooter?
I was one of the first who got to ride the C evolution when it came onto the market. At the film festival Berlinale, I rode the e-scooter down the red carpet. That was absolutely awesome. Amid all the luxury limousines, we obviously stood out a mile and attracted a lot of attention.
At the BMW Motorrad Days, I had the chance to test-ride the electro-scooter in the nearby mountains. The C evolution combines the best characteristics of a motorcycle. Unlike most scooters, it has a low centre of gravity. It feels like a heavy machine, takes off like a rocket and is as comfortable as a GS. Furthermore, it has generous storage space.
Like many others, I am fond of the smell and the rattling of motorcycles. But we must accept that the future is e-mobility. The Norwegians will ban combustion engines from 2025 onwards. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to know that the combustor will eventually have outlived its use.
Speaking about Germany, lots of cities are breaking the emission regulations of the EU. Other countries are outperforming us in terms of the energy revolution. If we ever want to get the parking situation, air pollution and noise under control, there is no way past the C evolution: emission-free, charged with green power, zero noise, no stench, minimum parking space.
First and foremost comes charging infrastructure. We need to invest in this so that e-mobility is able to further develop. It must be possible to charge at every petrol station and motorway service station. And politicians must support this. Apart from this, the industry – and therewith everyone of us – is required to act sustainable.
Citizens can only influence politics every four years, when they decide where to place their cross. But our wallets have a phenomenal power. We can boycott certain manufacturers and in doing so influence the industry. We can buy fair trade coffee or normal coffee. We can buy clothing from sustainable brands or from brands that produce in Bangladesh or other countries under terrible working conditions. And we can convert to electric vehicles.
I don’t have a tumble dryer, a laundry rack works just fine. I use organic cleaning agents instead of chemical ones. I don’t buy plastic bottles and completely do without plastic bags. I have been driving the BMW i3 since it came onto the market. I switch devices off completely instead of just on standby and I unplug chargers after charging – to name just a couple of things. We take over a hundred environmentally relevant decisions every day. Even if these are all small things, they still make a difference.
The only luxury about being famous for me is that you receive the attention you need to change something. If you are lucky enough to receive this platform, you have to use it. So I made documentaries and films about species which are dying out and environmental destruction. I see this as my duty.
In the food sector we are significantly further than in the textile or vehicle industries. But we are being forced to change the way we think. Whether the oil will run out in 50, 100 or 200 years, we are going to have to make the switch eventually. Or we can be proactive and ride the C evolution now. The scooter was almost ahead of its time. But its future is looking increasingly bright.