smart ebike with 4-level electric boost and regenerative braking
By Paul Ridden
October 2, 2010
If you were wondering about the other two-wheeled vehicle pictured with the smart escooter at the Paris Motor Show, then read on. The company has also announced a pedal-powered bicycle with electric assist named ebike which shares regenerative braking technology and similar smartphone integration with its cousin. When the ebike reaches a certain speed, the hub motor cuts out and the bike is driven by leg-work only.
Unlike some other pedelec (pedal electric cycle) vehicles available at the moment, the electric drive on smart's e-bike is not activated via a throttle grip on the handlebars. The 250W brushless direct current wheel hub motor activates as soon as the rider starts to pedal and provides four levels of electric support, controlled by a button on the handlebar. Depending on the motorized support level chosen, smart says that the ebike has an effective range of between 30 and 90 km (18.6 and 55.9 miles) per charge.
Of course the actual range depends on the amount of leg work employed by the rider. For much of the time, the ebike would be providing electric support to the user's pedaling but when the vehicle reaches a speed of 25kph (15.53mph), the electric assist cuts out and the it becomes a purely muscle-powered vehicle. Because of this, smart says that it can be used without the need for a driving licence (although local regulations may alter this fact).
The ebike is powered by a 36-volt/9.6Ah Lithium-ion battery pack which is concealed within the frame paneling above the crankcase. It can be charged from a household mains socket and is said to take just two to three hours to fully charge.
Just like the escooter, the ebike features regenerative braking technology at the rear hub-motor, with conventional braking itself being provided courtesy of hydraulic disc brakes at the front and rear.
Also like its cousin, the ebike will integrate with smartphones via a smart drive kit app. When placed in a special mount, the phone automatically activates the electric drive and becomes an information and control center for the vehicle. A trip computer interface advises the rider of battery status, current and average speed and also includes a heart-rate monitor and navigation system. There's even a GPS tracking function to help users locate a parked e-bike.
The rider can, of course, access other smartphone functions such as playing tunes from the phone's music library or going online to access a favorite radio station and so on. As an anti-theft measure, removing the smartphone effectively locks the drive.
For those occasions when four-wheeled transport is more practical, further development of the app could see integration with the car2go mobility concept being included.
Designed and built in cooperation with GRACE and weighing just 22kg (48.5 pounds), the ebike benefits from strong, lightweight aluminum profiles making up its frame, which also hide all of the wiring. smart says that the profiles are strong enough to support the lightweight wheel at the rear without the need for supporting struts.
Both 26-inch wheels feature six double spokes which the company says "enhance ride comfort thanks to good intrinsic damping, and can also cope well with rough road surfaces." A belt pulley and toothed belt replace the traditional chain and cog setup and the front full LED headlight is fitted into the handlebar, which is claimed to have the same effect as active curve illumination on cars. The rear LED lamp is mounted on the underside of the rider's saddle.
Be sure to flick through the gallery for some on the floor shots of the ebike at the Paris Motor Show.