It's been announced that the smart ebike is going into series production. It's being developed and built in cooperation with the renowned e-bike manufacturer Grace, based near Berlin. The ebike will launch in the first half of 2012 and will initially be marketed by dealers in Europe and North America.
Power-assisted two-wheel transport is gaining popularity, according to the German association of the two-wheeled industry (ZIV). Sales figures in Germany alone rose from 70,000 in '07 to 200,000 last year. In 2018, ZIV predicts e-bikes will make up 15 percent of all bicycle sales in Germany.
Sales are also booming across Europe as a whole. In 2007 approximately 200,000 people opted for an electric bicycle and, according to ZIV, by 2009 this figure had risen to 500,000. In 2010 around 700,000 e-bikes were sold throughout Europe - up 40 percent compared with the previous year.
The smart ebike breaks with conventional design by integrating the electric drive components. Furthermore, the frame, battery housing, handlebars, lights and mudguards have been designed specifically for smart.
The two-material, two-color concept has a plastic battery housing that forms a striking contrast to the aluminum frame of the smart ebike, and the look is completed by 26" wheels as well as the LED headlamp and rear light.
As a pedelec (Pedal Electric Cycle), the smart ebike is a hybrid vehicle: the maintenance-free and brushless rear-wheel hub electric motor is from BionX. It switches on as soon as the rider starts pedaling. Muscle power is transmitted to the rear wheel via a quiet belt-drive. An integrated three-speed gear hub provides gear changing.
The strengths of the ebike include its agile performance: the rider 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 62 miles.
With more than 400Wh, the lithium-ion battery is one of the most powerful batteries in the competitive environment. It has been attractively integrated on the 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 while 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 and converted into electrical energy and stored in the smart ebike's lithium-ion battery.
High-quality components have been incorporated including Magura MT4 disc brakes front and rear. The brakes interrupt the power supply to the motor during braking, stop its propulsion and reverse the polarity so it becomes a generator for recuperation of braking energy.
The smart ebike also features state-of-the-art infotainment: a USB interface is a standard feature and enables various mobile devices to be connected with the help of a versatile cradle. There are even plans to develop a special app for the iPhone, which would allow smart ebike riders to use their iPhone as an information centre, for example, to call up information on the charging status and range as well as navigation, etc.
In EU countries neither a driving license nor license plate are required as the electric motor of a pedelec only assists propulsion up to a speed of 15mph. This is also a clear advantage in terms of safety.
Charge management is just as simple: the battery can either be charged right on the ebike or it can be removed for charging at an indoor socket and reinserted.
Thanks to different handlebars and seatpost, the ebike can be adjusted to fit riders of different heights. A rear rack and further stowage options will also be offered, inclduing bags tailored to the rack system.