Well, if they can't quite master the business case for small city cars, maybe Smart will resort to two-wheelers as part of their plan to become the world's urban savior.

First revealed at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, the electric Smart ebike shown here will go on sale in 2012 and is set to cost "just" $4,000 or so. For the time being, the intent is to sell the lightweight two-wheeler in Europe and North America.

Smart says the regenerative energy unit on the rear hub is good for 250 watts of energy and the chain is actually a composite material belt drive. The builder, Grace, is based in Berlin. Headlight and taillight are LED units run off regenerative braking and pedaling, referred to as "pedelec."

The bike structure itself is all aluminum and the clever devil also boasts a USB port for things like recharging your smart phone on the fly.

Four grand makes these some pricey pedals, but at least one German study projects that by 2020, over 15 percent of all bikes will be of this ebike type. We're guessing they're going to have to be cheaper in order to reach those kind of volume targets.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      I built my first 20mph capable ebike for about $700... My second eBike, capable of 38mph cost me about $1400 to build.. The 20mph one can do 70 miles on a charge, the 38mph one can do about 40 miles. So SMART.. why the hell would someone buy your electric bike again?
        EJ
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        It's a little steep, but you gotta love the integrated torque arm-axle-dropout solution.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EJ
          Actually any bike with rear disc brake mount has an excellent spot for a torque plate. I had a machine shop make me one and it handles all 4000 watts my motor pumps out. So it's really not that special. Not $4000 special... hehe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @2 Wheeled Menace
        4000 watts, wow, that wouldn't probably be accepted as a bicycle in Germany... more like a two-wheel moped :)
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          It's not accepted as a bicycle here either. lol. I have a speed limiter switch, and it will maintain that speed no matter what. I pedal the entire time to conserve the battery and get excersize. But when i'm on a country road i let it rip, and yes it is more like a moped.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Looking closely at the pictures, this is based on a BionX kit. You can get a more powerful 350W BionX kit for under $2k. So this is $2k+ just for the Smart designed frame and brand.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      as with Smart it is Smart but not smart. I wouldn't mind having one, it looks pretty good, the price just makes it uninteresting.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Radical Right Wing Extremist Here... It was all a blur...my pointer was moving towards the 'thumbs up' button - then, I clicked on it. First time I did that with Danny. Have to give Smart credit...bringing the Right and Left together... Now if we can send them to the Middle East, the region will unit to simply keep their products out.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          'unite', that is.
      fairfireman21
      • 3 Years Ago
      If someone would spend $4000 on an ebike then I can save them money by giving them a labotomy for free. For 2 reasons: 1. you have way too much money. 2. You are dumber than a box of rocks.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Radical Right Wing Extremist here.... If I have a bike, I will ride it. If the bike costs $4000 and I am not racing it, then sorry, I will buy a used car. Or a motorcycle. Get off your lazy fat asses and pedal. If it is for transportation beyond what you are capable of, what is the advantage of this over a used car, motorcycle, motor scooter, etc? I know...electric...but honestly...the gas mileage is so high on a motor scooter are we really saving the planet with thing?
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        It is far cheaper to operate than a gas scooter, can go places a gas powered 2 wheeler cannot go, does not pollute the city, and does not make much in the way of noise either. I can go 30 miles on about 10 cents worth of electricity. That electricity can be generated with a pretty cheap solar array. So my question is.. if an electric bike works for your commute.. why the hell would you use gas? My commute involves a 1250 foot elevation climb followed by another 5 miles of random hills. I'm not lazy. I don't even see the local lycra crew going in that direction. My electric bike allows me to skip the car, and most importantly, give the oil companies the finger :)
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Fine. We will see how many are sold. Also, as you said, you built your first for $700, and your second for $1400. Again then, why buy this for $4000? I would think that people would much rather have your designs (and I will even let you charge the oil company's obscene 9% profit margin) than this thing. Oddly, you defeated your own argument. I wasn't saying there is no place for an electric bike, but no place for a $4000 electric bike.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Honestly dude...if you can build them for that much cheaper, do it! The thing us radical right wing extremists pick on those on the left for is constantly moaning about wanting to change the world, but always wNting to do it with other people's money, other people's know how, or other people's effort. A $4000 e bike is a truly silly thing. A $700 e bike is truly not. Or, charge $763 (that would give you the oil company's profit margin). That, I believe, would be successful, and something people of modest income (you would be helping the poor yay - that is like a twofer) could afford. Won't you do it....for the children...? Seriously...build it. Get rich.
        EJ
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        My eBikes and mountain scooter are solar sourced, so I ride for free. The real advantage is being able to show up at a meeting not sweaty, and then pedal home.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EJ
          For me the real advantage is to eliminate the car for the majority of all my trips! I wouldn't be riding 30 miles every day after all. With my hills that 30 mile commute even beat the hell out of me when i was 21. Right on with the solar sourcing. I'd love to do that soon.
      Aaron Schwarz
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am sorry, but $4K and $5K for an electric bike is absurd for the limited nature of these vehicles. Under $2K is more realistic for actually producing a return on investment for their operators (ignoring safety/ physiological impacts entirely). $4K worth of gasoline at $3.50/ gal buys 1143gallons of gas *enough to go 27,432 miles in a 24MPG vehicle or 54,864 miles in a Prius*. If you calculate the total cost of ownership with tires, batteries, maintenance, increased food requirements (45KCal per mile), power to recharge the bike, repairs, ect, this think probably barely reaches operating cost parity with a 30MPG car purchased slightly used. That said there are cardiovascular and mental benefits to staying fit, and commuting with a bicycle/bus combo can go a long way towards meeting an individuals physical output to stay healthy and fit requirements. And this is of course giving the e-bike the generous assumed advantage of being able to be operated in rainy weather.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Aaron Schwarz
        Increased food requirements,...dude. You are good. Keep going...more food, more water for crops (and cattle). I agree though. And no way the Germans will buy what they cite in the article. I have lived in Germany (apart of our military, invading brown skinned people) and they will never get this thing. They are in great shape (women are really hot) and they will laugh. Laugh, I say!
          Aaron Schwarz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Actually while on this point, I might note that our food, not vehicle choices, have the greatest net impact on the natural world. Switching away from beef in ones diet for example has a tremendous net impact on the environment over time. Sure, you can get 1600K cals from a fast food joint for $5 or less, but it will probably cause more than $5 worth of long term health impacts.... I imagine that most people who commute on bicycles also eat healthy, since they are more in touch with reality, literally!
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @aaron Call up 2 wheeled menace. He has one for $700.
          Aaron Schwarz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Food costs way more than fuel, per energetic unit, and the human body is not very efficient with calories, lots of unused energy exits the back port in the poo dingle, and lots of energy in the urea/ pee too. Fortunately the bicycle with its low mass, low rolling resistance and aerodynamic form multiply the caloric efficiency of a human. A 160lb man commuting 20 miles each way on a bike will burn about 40K cals per mile, for 40 miles, which is 1600 extra calories. Getting 1600 extra calories from healthy foods can easily cost $10, and at $3.50/gal that is 2.85gallons, enough to operate the average american car 69 miles, or a Prius about 137miles..... Commuting on a bike is also far less safe that commuting in a vehicle with a steel safety cage and airbags ect. One of my friends was killed in a bicycle traffic accident, and another one is mentally handcapped because of a bicycle traffic accident. In both instance the intelligent drive just didn't see them... as if they were F*ing invisible or something.... brilliant drivers! Sure, if you can save a grip on parking fees, then even an overpriced e-bike will save you money! The fact is clear, bicycles are the most popular vehicles in the world by a large margine in terms of volume. E-bikes this expensive however will not catch on with a large audience because of their astronomical price- consumers are very price sensitive!
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Actually eBikes are extremely popular in Europe as a whole. I am on an electric bike forum and there are plenty of people from Germany building their own. They've already caught on. Just not these stupidly expensive ones.
        jkirkebo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Aaron Schwarz
        Why would e-bikes have a problem with rain ? I ride my Ezee Forza 10 miles every workday, regardless of weather. And I live in Norway, where we get LOTS of rain and winter temps can easily be below 0F. No problems so far. Studded tires are necessary in winter though. Maybe cheap China crap will fail in rain, but not a properly engineered e-bike.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @jkirkebo
          There are potential problems with rain. Hub motors can sometimes ingest water and then rust. There are some topics on a message board called 'endless sphere' about this. do a search for 'rust'
        paulwesterberg
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Aaron Schwarz
        How do city congestion charges, road taxes and parking fees impact your cost calculation? In many cities parking in the downtown during a workday can easily cost you $10-20 or more per day. I bike to work a lot, but I am in the minority, if a well designed ebike makes zero emissions commuting easier for your average weak kneed cube drone who lives in the suburbs then they will make the world a better place.
          Aaron Schwarz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Not everyone lives and works in a city! The burbs have lots of free parking, lots of toll free roads, no special congestion charge ect. I live and work east of seattle, and we get a staggering 58 days of sun per year (considered 30% or less cloud cover). I dont care what you say about operating costs, this $4K hunk of designer overpriced **** is about $2K more than it should be, and the market will vote accordingly. Its a niche market overpriced Toy. Anyone who pays $20 to park their car downtown has more money that common sense. If someone lives in an urban area that charges that kind of rip off rate to park and drive and dose not ride the bus or bike to work, they must have more money than mental accumen! I am big fan of hybrid commuting, mixing car use with bikes and buses to get the best combination of cost reduction, time efficiency and utility flexibility. Speaking of which, I am heading into Big Urban costly to park seattle tomorrow. I will drive to the local park and ride, park for free, then hop on the bus and use the ORCA pass my employer gave me to get there for no out of pocket fee. Any employer that requires suburbanites to come to the city who doesn't throw in a metro pass to those who can use them is a greedy company that can get twanked!
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Here are some graphs i came up with to describe how cheap it is to operate an eBike versus other forms of transport.. http://neptronix.org/posts/transportation_cost.html That's 12 cents to go 30 miles versus what, $3.50-$4.00 per 30 miles in a car? Imagine the positive economic, environmental, and health impact that would come if even say 25% of the car commuting population rode an eBike instead.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          Re: making the world better by enabling weak kneed to commute by bike, amen! I am speaking as one of those. However well designed ebikes already exist, in spades, for a bit less than $2k. Re: factoring in congestion charges etc. The right comparison would factor them in and also include public transport. If you are able to not get a car, thats a factor too. Although you need to factor in the value of your time. I put no value in time spent commuting by car, very little into commuting by bus (never did get much work/enjoyment during the trip) and a lot from biking, as I'm getting exercise I wouldnt otherwise do. So for me the extra commute time for ebike is a huge win. Here are my numbers, also a bike commuter with a 17mi round trip commute. Car costs: Time per trip: 15-20 minutes $50/mo ins $100/mo car ($20k used car, 8 year lifespan) $25/month licensing, oil changes etc $34/month ($1.70/day) gas at 30mpg $180/mo parking DT seattle ------- ~$400 Bus Time per trip: 45-60 minutes $100/mo or $5/day Bike Time per trip: 30-40 minutes $1999 BionX 60mile, 350/700W kit Payoff vs bus: 20 months Payoff vs car: 5 months
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Aaron Schwarz
        With an electric bike you can take the bus out of the equation and pedal + use electric power in conjunction to get there faster. You do know that you have to use the throttle AND the pedal at the same time, no? I built my first ebike for $700 and you can buy them for under $2000 easily..
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          Actually lifepo4 batteries often don't last long in electric bikes. They achieve their long lifespan ( a thousand cycles or two ) at a meager 1C rate. Your bike has a 20-25 amp controller and will run the battery more around 2C during hill climbing or just a bit over 1C on a flat. If you want a battery to last long in an electric bike, you have to overspec the C ratings quite a bit. lifepo4 is always underrated unless we're talking about a 250w bike with a >15AH lifepo4 pack..
          Aaron Schwarz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          I ordered a Phantom X from prodeco, but still waiting for it! $1100 sounded a lot better than $4K, and it ismade in Florida, USA (from a mix of parts sourced from china and japan). They have had a lot of production delays and are very backordered, but it seems to be the best I could find for a made in the US e-bike that has enough power to meet my needs and a LiFePO4 battery that will last a lot longer than LiMnO2 garbage!
      • 3 Years Ago
      First of all $4K is about $1K too high! The bike looks nice, especially with the battery being an aesthetically integrated, yet modular, part of the frame. Unfortunately, the 250 watt motor looks to be the size of a 750 watt motor - just too big for what it is - in my option. Also no mention of top speed or number of gears/speeds, which is important to know. The regen LED lights, disc breaks, composite chain and USB port do set this bike apart from most competiton, but you could by two very competent electric bikes that are already on the market with this type of $$. Cheers!
      • 3 Years Ago
      You could get other brand-named bicycles for $ 1-2k so this is most likely only for the accessory shops that Smart and Daimler has. Perhaps they'll give one away for every SLS E-CELL (or B-Class F-CELL Tourer) sold.
      • 3 Years Ago
      A toy for the guy who also owns a $5,000 wristwatch.
      dzspleen
      • 3 Years Ago
      A watt is a unit of power, not energy... /pedant
    • Load More Comments