2012 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive and Smart ebike coming to U.S. and Europe

The Smart ebike offers power-assisted mobility on two wheels. The third-generation Smart Fortwo Electric Drive will be available in 30 markets next year.

The Smart ebike will be on display at the Eurobike show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3. Smart

Smart this week announced a third-generation Smart Fortwo Electric Drive and a new electric bike, the ebike, that will be available in the U.S. and Europe in early 2012.

The new Smart Fortwo Electric Drive will use a 55kW motor capable of accelerating from 0 to 62 mph in 13 seconds and offers a top speed of about 75 mph. The 17.6 kWh battery offers an range of over 86 miles.

Charging the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive normally will take up to 8 hours, but an optional quick-charging function that will fully charge a depleted battery in under an hour will also be available. "For the greater freedom of quick charging it is possible to optionally equip the vehicle with a quick-charging function," Daimler said in a press release.

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive isn't the only Smart launch planned for next year. The Smart ebike runs on human and electric power with a "maintenance-free," rear-wheel hub motor from BionX. The 250-watt electric motor offers four power levels and switches on as soon as the rider starts to pedal.

Peddling creates energy that can be stored. The power from peddling is transmitted to the rear wheel via a durable and quiet-running belt drive. An integrated three-speed gear hub provides for comfortable gear changing, Daimler said.

The wheel hub motor becomes as a generator when the rider brakes. Recuperated energy is converted into electrical energy and stored in the ebike's lithium-ion battery. A battery charge can last for about 62 miles on the lowest setting due to a 400Wh lithium ion battery.

The electric motor provides propulsion for the ebike of a speed of 15 mph.

"The Smart ebike is a true smart--but on two wheels," Smart CEO Annette Winkler said in a press release. "It is an extremely well designed bicycle that is sure to draw admiring glances in the city--it's also really practical and easy to ride. Anyone can zip through town on it with or without exerting themselves--depending on their fitness level and as their mood takes them. And it's even easier to find a parking space than with the Smart Fortwo."

The ebike includes a USB interface and there are plans for an iPhone app that would let riders check on the charging status and range.

The Smart ebike will be on display at the Eurobike show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3, and both Smart offerings will be at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show Sept. 13 to 15.

No prices have been announced yet.

About the author

Suzanne Ashe has been covering technology, gadgets, video games, and cars for several years. In addition to writing features and reviews for magazines and Web sites, she has contributed to daily newspapers.



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