Winner of the Red Dot Design AwardDaimler, who owns Smart (they prefer not to capitalize the 's', but I just think it looks weird and confusing, so I'll capitalize it), the maker of small urban two-seat cars, has decided to get into the electric bike business. They seem to have spent a lot of time on design, because the end result looks both futuristic and practical, which is rare. In fact, the design is so good that it was awarded the "Best of the Best" prize for top design quality at the Red Dot Awards.
The first units of the Smart Electric Bicycle are beginning to be delivered in Europe right now, and the e-bike should also be available in the U.S. "soon", though no official date has been released yet.
The rider of the smart ebike decides how much power he wants the 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 level providing maximum pushing power. Depending on the power level selected and the manner of cycling a battery charge can last for up to 100 kilometres.
With 423 Wh the lithium-ion battery is one of the most powerful batteries in the competitive environment. It has been attractively integrated in the frame of the smart ebike. The portable battery can be charged either at a normal socket or whilst 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, i.e. it is converted into electrical energy and stored in the smart ebike's lithium-ion battery. (source)
It's priced at 2,849 euros in Germany, but that includes 19% of VAT tax, so price in the U.S. should be lower (hopefully).