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Smart Electric Bike On Sale In Europe, Due In U.S. Soon

 
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Smart's ebike electric bicycle is now available to order across Europe, before the first bikes hit retailers in late May, going on sale in the U.S. soon after.

The bike reinforces the brand's stance on urban mobility, providing consumers with another option for city commutes beyond the regular ForTwo and the ForTwo Electric Drive, now in its third generation.

The ebike is defined as a pedelec, or Pedal Electric Cycle, and technically, with its combination of electric power and person power, it's a hybrid vehicle.

It's powered by a 423 Wh lithium-ion battery, feeding a 200 watt BionX electric motor in the rear wheel hub. A four-way adjustable switch lets the rider decide how much their pedalling will be assisted by the electric motor, and power from the rider's legs is transmitted via a carbon drive belt, which requires no oil, so cuts down on maintenance.

Smart says that there's enough power for up to 62 miles of range, depending on how much assistance the rider selects and the individual riding style, but as with electric cars this should be more than up to a city commute.

Unlike an electric car, the battery can be charged off the bike, so if there's no power socket where you lock up the bike, you can remove the battery and charge it via a regular plug socket. As you'd expect, some energy can be recuperated by braking, when the motor becomes a generator.

The ebike uses disc brakes front and rear, and features 26-inch wheels. The bike weighs 57 pounds. That's more than your typical bike, but electric assistance will make light work of hills.

A BionX control panel shows details like battery charge status, distance measurements, time measurements and average speed, and the bike's LED lights can also be switched on and off via the panel. An optional smartphone cradle and USB input lets you plug your smartphone into the bike, for navigation and other options.

U.K. pricing starts around $4,000 including local taxes, but U.S. pricing should be a few hundred dollars lower. There's no set date for U.S. sales, but it should be available soon.

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Comments (7)
  1. Wow, Smart really did their homework on this bike: smartphone interface, removable battery, regenerative braking, carbon drive belt, multiple assist settings ... All these things justify the premium for the bike. Another article put the price at 2,849 Euros (including VAT), so removing VAT and converting to US dollars, it comes in just under $3K, so it's a reasonable price for all you are getting. I rode an eZip for a few years, and the ease of riding is so much greater than a regular bike, you just can't compare the two. Given these unique features, this bike could be a huge hit. I hope they design the new quadracycles with many of these smartphone interconnection features.
     
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  2. You're right, VAT is included in the European prices, though I couldn't find anything to suggest the bike would be less than $3,700 when it hits the U.S. - though I hope I'm proven wrong.
     
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  3. There are quite a few e-bikes out there but this is the first I've ever seen advertising regenerative braking. Is the top assisted speed below 20 mph? If so it's legally a bicycle and can be ridden on bike paths. I would have designed it to be a step through because in a city environment you frequently step of the bike and turn into a pedestrian. Great effort and I hope it catches on not just for commuting but for running short errands.
     
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  4. Hi Tom, thanks for reminding me - top assisted speed of the bike is just over 15mph, so it's still legally a bicycle.
     
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  5. I rode a couple of ebikes last year and was amazed by the difference. One bike (a Trek) was an "electrically assisted bike" meaning that you got help on the hills.

    The second bike (I forget the brand) was an "electric bike". It could keep up with traffic without you pedaling at all and it was very heavy.

    I think the electrically assisted bicycle is better because I feel like I could be on the bike paths without excess speed.
     
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  6. Being able to take the short cuts that bikes can is key here in Boston. Cows make for lousy city planners. The promotional video may have been better served replacing scenes of people riding their bikes through traffic with scenes riding through parks.
     
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  7. The carbon drive belt sounds like one of the most promising innovations around in cycling, electric or plain old exertion-- no chains to clean, apply expensive lubricants to (or feel guilty about not cleaning and lubricating). Bicycles with direct drive are also out there but they require frequent grease-gunning. The carbon fiber belt, on the other hand, only requires occasional belt adjustments which seem easy to do.

    Adjusting to the sticker shock of an electric bike is pretty easy to overcome. Just get used to it like you do with cars. The main buying restraint I have to overcome with an electric bike are concerns about theft: Where are you going to park it? Not all bicycle racks are secure. Also, conventional bike riders can't keep up.
     
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