Mercedes small car company Smart is going to offer an ebike in 2012. smart CEO Dr. Annette Winkler says "The smart ebike is a true smart – but on two wheels. It's not just an extremely well designed bicycle that is sure to draw admiring glances in the city – it's also really practical and child's play to ride. Anyone can zip through town on it with or without exerting themselves – depending on their fitness level and as the mood takes them. And it's even easier to find a parking space than with the smart fortwo."
According to the association of the two-wheeler industry (ZIV) sales figures in Germany alone rose from 70,000 in 2007 to 200,000 in 2010. In 2018 the ZIV predicts that e-bikes will make up 15% of all bicycle sales in Germany. And in Europe as a whole sales are booming even more. In 2007 approximately 200,000 people opted for an electric bicycle and according to the ZIV by 2009 this figure had already risen to 500,000. And in 2010 around 700,000 e-bikes were sold throughout Europe – a plus of 40% compared with the previous year.
The smart ebike created by the smart designers boasts a clear design idiom and an independent appearance. It clearly breaks with conventional bicycle design with attractive integration of the components of the electric drive. The main components such as the frame, battery housing, handlebars, lights or mudguards have been designed and developed specifically for smart.
The two-material and two-color concept is also typically smart. The plastic battery housing forms a striking contrast to the aluminum frame of the smart ebike and the dynamic look is rounded off by 26 inch wheels. The headlamp and rear light feature LED technology.
As a pedelec(Pedal Electric Cycle) the smart ebike is strictly speaking a hybrid vehicle:
the electric motor – a maintenance-free and brushless rear-wheel hub motor from BionX – switches on as soon as the rider starts pedalling as with a normal bicycle.Muscle power is transmitted to the rear wheel via a durable and quiet belt drive. An integrated three-speed gear hub provides for comfortable gear changing.
The strengths of the ebike include its agile performance: the rider of the smart ebike decides how much power he wants the 250 watt electric motor to deliver to support his muscle power by pressing a button on the handlebar. There is a choice of four power levels with the fourth and highest level providing maximum pushing power. Depending on the power level selected and the manner of cycling a battery charge can last for more than 100 kilometers.
With more than 400 Wh the lithium-ion battery is one of the most powerful batteries in the competitive environment. It has been attractively integrated on the smart ebike and is housed on the lower bar in the frame triangle under a plastic housing. The portable battery can be charged either at a normal socket or whilst riding with the latter offering advantages in terms of cost and the environment. The wheel hub motor becomes as a generator when the rider brakes. The braking energy is recuperated, i.e. it is converted into electrical energy and stored in the smart ebike's lithium-ion battery.
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