Along with all of the concept cars shown at this year’s North American International Auto Show, also known as the Detroit Auto Show, there was a two-wheeled vehicle that also turned heads, the Daimler-made Smart eBike.
Unveiled last fall, the eBike is still, like many offerings at the large auto shows, a concept-only rig, so there's no word on when – or even if – it will eventually go on sale. Given the shift towards electric vehicles, however, as well as rising prices at the pump, it could very well end up like the Smart Car – a niche product that does indeed come to market.
If the eBike does make it to a store near you, you’ll find that it’s a bike built for alternative transport, rather than one to get in shape. The bike ditches the traditional triangle design, opting for lines that bear resemblance to Cannondale’s Y-framed mountain bikes from the late 1990s.
It looks as light as it does futuristic, but the Smart eBike is beefy by any standard in bicycles. It'll take a miracle material, or a few, to shed the pounds as the concept model weighs in at approximately 50lb. As we said, this is meant to be an alternative to a car or scooter, not a recreational machine. It’s interesting that even coming from an auto manufacturer the electric system is still meant mostly as an assist and can’t do all the work.
The custom rear wheel contains a BionX electric motor; the battery is internal to the frame and slung low near the bottom bracket
As a commuting device, the eBike has a range of around 50 miles, depending on how much pedaling you want to do. The electric motor is combined with a belt drive system to make for a smooth and quiet ride; this should also serve to keep maintenance to a minimum.
So, what will this bike cost and will it be produced? It's already captured the attention of many, and as with automobiles, concept is where production often begins. We'll be sure to watch Daimler for future updates regarding the eBike, as it seems like a smart move by the German company.