Smart showed us its electric scooter concept prior to its debut at the Paris Motor Show, and today the German automaker revealed another two-wheeled electric vehicle. Although requiring slightly more effort than the escooter, Smart's ebike concept is just as green.
Unlike the escooter concept, the ebike concept can't be driven on electricity alone. Instead, the onboard 250-watt electric motor assists the rider instead of doing all the work. Energy is stored in a 9.6 Ah lithium-ion battery pack that sits above the pedal crankcase on the frame. Like a plug-in hybrid car, the battery pack is either charged by plugging into a standard wall outlet or regenerates power when braking. A full charge of the battery pack takes no longer than three hours when plugged into a conventional wall outlet.
Acting essentially as a human-electric hybrid vehicle, the ebike offers four levels of assist, allowing the rider to conserve strength. A button on the handlebar allows the rider to select the desired amount of assist, and depending on the level selected, the battery's power reserve will allow trips from 19 to 56 miles. Smart says that while speed is virtually limited to how fast the rider can pedal, the ebike's electric motor won't assist for speeds higher than 16 mph. The two available gears are automatically selected by the bike and are speed-dependent. Front and rear four-piston hydraulic disc brakes are installed and should provide ample stopping power. Although constructed primarily of aluminum, Smart's ebike is no featherweight, tipping the scales at 48 pounds. All cables are hidden within the frame to reduce clutter.
Smart has implemented a smartphone system into the ebike concept similar to the one previewed on the escooter. A cradle is mounted for the phone between the handlebars, allowing riders to see information such as battery status, speed, distance traveled, temperature, and heart rate. In addition to the trip computer features, the standard features of a smartphone are also available including navigation and internet radio. While docked, the battery also charges the phone so it won't run out of power.
With its hybrid characteristics and gadget-minded conveniences, the Smart ebike looks promising. What are your opinions on Smart's new hybrid?