You would have thought Daimler had learned it wasn’t terribly good at making small cars after its Smart car turned out to have disappointing gas mileage, disappointing build quality–well, disappointing everything–but now it is going even smaller with the Smart E-Bike pictured here. Why is an automaker getting into the electronic bike market? Because the market is blowing up right now, with a three-fold increase in Daimler’s home market of Germany in 2010 of 200,000 units up from 70,000 in 2007. And across Europe, the electronic bike market has exploded from 200,000 units in 2007 to 500,000 in 2009 and 700,000 in 2010. So, welcome to the party, Smart. And there is some hope for Daimler here.
The automaker was smart enough to team up with electric bicycle maker Grace to design the Smart E-Bike, which means the tiniest Smart has a chance at achieving high-quality design and performance after all. The Smart E-Bike uses a 250-watt electric motor backed up by a 62-mile-range lithium-ion battery for adjustable pedaling boost. Front and rear disc brakes recharge the battery with a regenerative braking system, and the battery can even charge your cell phone with a built-in USB dock. The little Smart bike will be sold in Europe and North America early next year, but we will get a sneak peek of it at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show next month… which leads us to wonder how many other non-automotive vehicles will start popping up at auto shows in the coming years.
Via AutoBlog Green