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Car Tech Video: Take a ride on the Smart Electric Bike
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Car Tech Video: Take a ride on the Smart Electric Bike

2:43 /

The 2013 Frankfurt auto show is filled with cars, both production and concept, but nothing could prepare us for Smart's electric bicycle. CNET's Antuan Goodwin takes it for a spin and tells us why this could be a smart, no pun intended, way to travel.

What's up, guys? This is Antuan Goodwin with CNET.com at the Frankfurt Motor Show taking a break from cars to take a look at a bike. Now this is no standard regular bike. This is the Smart Electric Bike. It's a pedal-assist electric bicycle, and what that means is that we've got a lithium ion battery pack that's gonna send electricity to a 250-watt electric motor in the back. That's a brushless hub motor in the rear wheel, and when I turn these pedals there are sensors that are gonna detect how much effort I wanna put in and basically add a little bit of electric-assist to that making the feel like I'm a stronger rider and allowing me to go a little bit further with less effort. Now there's no twist throttle. I can't just, you know, turn a throttle and let the bike go forward. I have to be turning the pedal so this bike isn't going to move, but I do have some controls here. I've got my brakes like I would with any other bike. I've got the 3-gear selector for the internal 3-gear hub, and I've also got a little rocker switch here to let me determine the amount of electric-assist that I want. I can go to the 1st level electric-assist that just gives me a little bit of an extra push. I could bump all the way up to the 4th level that's gonna give me the full beans and really make this bike fly. You've also got a couple of regenerated braking modes like any good electric vehicle. So when I step on the brakes or rather pull the brake lever, it'll actually turn that motor into a small generator, adding a little bit of drag, slowing the bike down and slightly recharging this electric bike. Now of course that's not gonna charge the battery all the way up. You're gonna wanna plug it in every now and then and this battery is removable with a key so that you can take it inside or actually just plug the bike up itself. It's gonna take you about anywhere between 3 to 5 hours to get an 80 to 100 percent charge. That's gonna get you about 62 miles of assisted range. After that you're on your own with pedal power. The top speed on this bike is gonna be about 15-1/2 miles per hour on assist, but if you've got strong legs and you get up in that top gear you can actually push it further with muscle power. So I guess that kind of technically makes this Smart only hybrid vehicle where instead of a gasoline vehicle you've got me. Still got the electric power train that are adding assist. Now this is available now in Europe, and it's gonna be available in North America coming soon. Pricing in the North America market is gonna be about $3,000 and some change. I'm Antuan Goodwin with CNET.com onboard the Smart Electric Bike at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.

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