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Michael Schumacher had twinkly eyes when he got his new bike, or at least that’s what Daimler said in its press release.
Whether or not that was true, Schumacher and Nico Rosberg are the two first people to own the new Smart ebike. They received them at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona where we would like to imagine both racers riding around for a few minutes making “vroom” noises and looking silly.
Funny as it would be, there’s nothing silly about the €2849 price tag that translates to roughly $3,700 dollars. It’s hard to imagine how smart you would really feel cruising around on an almost-$4000 bicycle. Well, it does get you over 100 kilometers on one charge from the 400-Wh lithium-ion battery, so at least you are getting some bang for your buck.
The Smart ebike will be available in April with two color options: white with green “trim” as seen above or matte grey with orange.
Smart describes the bike as if it were a car in its release, try not to chuckle.
“As a pedelec (Pedal Electric Cycle) the smart ebike is strictly speaking a hybrid vehicle: the electric motor switches on as soon as the rider starts pedalling. Muscle power is transmitted to the rear wheel via a lubricant-free, durable and quiet belt drive in place of a conventional bicycle chain.”
It’s a good thing the geniuses at Smart decided to make it “rear-wheel drive” because all that power would probably lead to some serious wheel hop during drag races. You’ve been put on notice, world. Stay off the sidewalks.
With the e-bike set for production in 2012, Smart takes to two wheels—just in time to tap into the growing two-wheeled market.
According to Smart’s figures, bicycle sales soared in Germany from 70,000 bikes sold in 2007 to 200,000 last year. And power-assisted bicycles will make up 15% of all two-wheeled sales by 2018. The rest of Europe bought 700,000 juiced-up bikes last year, up from 500,000 in 2009—a 40% increase.
Smart is banking on unconventional styling and its name recognition to filter down from its cars, which are almost already the same size. It integrates the powerplant in a y-shaped frame, with front and rear mudguards. The 250-watt electric motor, developed by BionX, turns on as soon as the pedals are turned, and power is sent to the 3-speed rear wheel hub via belt drive.
One charge from the 400-Wh lithium-ion battery can go for over 100 kilometers, but if the rider runs out of juice halfway through the ride, it can be charged through riding.
There’s no price announced for the ebike, but given Smart’s name recognition and premium, it won’t be cheap.