Smart, the company behind those tiny two-seat cars you see popping up on streets around the globe, now wants to put a little pep in your afternoon bicycle ride. The Smart ebike, which has been traveling the American auto-show circuit (so far, it has stopped in L.A., Detroit and New York), combines human and electric power to give riders an extra boost.
The bike features a 250-watt electric motor in its rear wheel that activates when the rider begins to pedal, delivering four levels of power controlled using a handlebar button. Yet ebike riders still have to put in some of the effort to get from point A to point B: The electric drive shuts off once it reaches about 15.5 miles per hour. The 36-volt battery can be charged using any household outlet and lasts up to 55 miles, depending on use.
Staying true to its name, the Smart ebike is also smartphone friendly. You can use gadgets to lock the electric drive and/or function as speedometer, battery monitor and trip planner. When the ebike rolls into Friedrichshafen, Germany, at the end of this month for Eurobike, an international bicycle trade festival, the company will announce further production details. www.daimler.com