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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.