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Saturday, October 02, 2010
smart electric bicycle - ebike
Image: © 2010 theirEarth.com

smart's ebike follows its fortwo cousin

PARIS, FRANCE - smart premiered their electric 'ebike' bicycle at the 2010 Paris Motor Show last Thursday in the beautiful city of Paris, France. The smart ebike is an electric pedal-assist bicycle with four levels of hybrid power integrated with the rider's own pedal input. The ebike does not require a driving license and is capable of providing power up to its cut-off maximum power assisted speed of 25 km/h (15.54 mph). Thereafter the smart ebike bicycle can achieve higher speeds dependent on the rider's physical capabilities.

The smart ebike is a lightweight design, weighing just 22 kilograms (48.4 lbs), inclusive of its lithium-ion battery pack. The ebike has been constructed of light weight aluminium profiles and inherits some of its design DNA from the smart fortwo electric drive car. As an example, the body cladding covering the battery electronics is similar to the body panels of its automotive cousin. The ebike's wheels are 26 inches in diameter and are manufactured of aluminium with six double alloy spokes on each wheel, delivering both wheel stiffness and overall strength in the design.

The smart ebike has been designed and manufactured in collaboration with the electric bike manufacturer GRACE who are based in Berlin. What is particularly innovative is the way the 250 watt hub motor has been integrated into the rear wheel's spoke design. The ebike's hub motor is powered by a 36 volt 9.6 Ah lithium-ion battery housed behind the panels above the pedal crankcase. smart says that the ebike's battery can be charged in two to three hours off a regular household outlet. In place of a chain drive, the rider provides pedal input using a belt drive pulley, whose belt smart says requires no maintenance.

The driving range of the smart ebike depends on which of the four power assist levels is chosen. The ebike's range is 30, 50, 70, or 90 kilometers (18.6, 31.1, 43.5, 55.9 miles) with the 30 km range corresponding to the highest power assist level and the 90 km range corresponding to the least assist. Where the power assist is extremely useful is when a ride includes the climbing of steep hills at which point the ebike is in its own element over conventional bicycles. There is even regenerative braking with the rear hub motor acting in reverse polarity to charge the battery when using the rear brake.

Similar to the smart electric escooter, which smart also introduced at the Paris Motor Show, the ebike operates in conjunction with a purpose-built smartphone. The smartphone has its own cycle mount location and acts as the ebike's trip computer, GPS navigation system, immobiliser, speedometer, and even the rider's internet access. For night riding, the ebike is equipped with front and rear high-technology LED lights. smart has not indicated whether the ebike will become a production model or the estimated price, but judging by the interest in the bike at the Paris show, they will certainly have the inspiration to make the ebike production ready.

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