Smart whirs $4,000 ebike into Frankfurt

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.

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