Smart electric bike may come here

24 January 2012
, CarsGuide
Smart electric bike may come here
Smart claims the bike is safer than conventional bicycles

The electric bike is currently only available in Europe, but Mercedes-Benz  Australia spokesman David McCarthy says it could be a handy tool for Aussie commuters.

"We are investigating the E Bike for Oz, we don't have any indicative pricing as yet," he says. "There is interest from customers as it would make a great urban commute bike (but) don't know if you would be allowed to ride it on bike paths.

"We are scoping out the business case at the moment. There's no compliance reasons we are aware of to stop it coming here."

The bike has a battery seamlessly moulded into the frame and has range of up to 100km on a single charge; more if the rider helps by peddling.

It is a handsome piece of machinery with a maintenance-free, carbon-toothed belt as found in many cars. It requires no lubrication, so it won't chew trousers or spatter them with grease. The lightweight belt also won't mark the carpet in the boot or the back seat where it can be easily stored after quickly detaching the front wheel.

McCarthy says it would be ideal for people who live close to work or who drive from the suburbs, then park their car and ride the last part of the journey, avoiding traffic congestion and parking problems.

There is also an optional mobile phone cradle with USB connection on the handlebars so the rider can use it as a stanav device, app device, phone or music player.

Smart claims the bike is safer than conventional bicycles because the electric motor provides extra braking assistance to the hydraulic brakes, recuperating energy to charge the battery in the process. McCarthy suggests Smart is not a major focus.

"People buy Smart; we don't sell it," he says. "We continue to support Smart because people love it."

He says they sell Smart cars to keep it "out of the hands of the grey importers". "We're also investigating bringing in the second generation of the electric Smart (car), but only in small numbers; half a dozen or so just to trial."