Saturday, August 20, 2011

2012 Smart ebike revealed

2012 Smart ebike 2012 Smart ebike 2012 Smart ebike 2012 Smart ebike
If electric bikes like this are the future, the future is going to be dull...

A division of Daimler AG, Smart makes some of the coolest small cars on the planet – we quite love their ForTwo cabriolet. And now, Smart are doing the, er..., smart thing and getting into producing bikes. The German company will have the Smart ebike on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month and will go into production early next year. The bike will be launched in Europe and in the US in 2012, followed by other regions later.

‘The Smart ebike is a true Smart – but on two wheels. It is an extremely well designed bicycle that is sure to draw admiring glances in the city. It's also really practical and easy to ride. Anyone can zip through town on it with or without exerting themselves – depending on their fitness level and as their mood takes them. And it's even easier to find a parking space than with the Smart ForTwo,’ says Smart CEO, Dr Annette Winkler.

So why are we featuring a battery-powered bicycle here on Faster and Faster? Umm... because Suzuki aren’t talking about the 2012 GSX-R1000 just yet. But seriously, these things might be the future of two-wheeled transport. In Germany, 200,000 electric bikes were sold in 2010, up from 70,000 units in 2007. Across Europe, 200,000 electric bicycles were sold in 2007, which went up to a massive 700,000 units in 2010. ‘We, at Smart, have been gathering experience of electric drives and the mobility needs of city dwellers around the world for years. The Smart ebike is the product of this experience and compliments the Smart ForTwo extremely well. We listened to what people wanted from the perfect city bike and then came up with some clever solutions such as the integrated USB port for smartphones and energy recuperation during braking,’ says Dr Annette Winkler, whose idea of what makes the perfect city bike probably doesn’t include a Ducati 1198SP fitted with a full-noise Termignoni exhaust system.

The Smart ebike is fitted with an aluminium frame, rides on 26-inch wheels and is powered by a maintenance-free brushless rear-wheel hub motor from BionX, which produces 250 watts. The motor feeds off the bike’s 400Wh lithium-ion battery pack and, depending on the level of assistance selected, you can travel up to 100km on one full charge.

And, yes, ‘assistance’ is what you get from the ebike’s electric motor. The Smart ebike is, officially, a PedElec – a pedal-operated electric cycle – and it’s a hybrid, which means it uses a combination of your muscle power and its electric motor’s wattage to get going.

If the above details aren’t interesting enough for you, get this – the Smart ebike is fitted with an LED headlamp and taillamp and via USB connectivity, allows you to hook up your iWhatever to the bike.

‘In EU countries, neither a driving licence nor a licence plate is required as the electric motor of a pedelec only assists propulsion up to a speed of 15mph. This is also a clear advantage in terms of safety,’ says a press release from Smart. If this is the future of bikes, we’ll stick with the past...

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