Slick take on pedal power

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By MARK HINCHLIFFE

TRAF­FIC con­ges­tion and park­ing prob­lems could be his­tory with a Smart E Bike.

The elec­tric bike is only avail­able in Europe, but Mercedes-benz Aus­tralia spokesman David Mc­carthy says it could be a handy tool for Aussie com­muters.

‘‘We are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the E Bike for Oz. We don’t have any in­dica­tive pric­ing as yet,’’ he says.

‘‘There is in­ter­est from cus­tomers, as it would make a great ur­ban com­mute bike. Don’t know if you would be al­lowed to ride it on bike paths.

‘‘We are scop­ing out the busi­ness case at the mo­ment. There are no com­pli­ance rea­sons we are aware of to stop it com­ing here.’’

The bike has a bat­tery seam­lessly moulded into the frame and has a range of up to 100km on a sin­gle charge — more if the rider helps by ped­alling.

It is a hand­some piece of ma­chin­ery, with a main­te­nance-free, car­bon­toothed belt as found in many cars.

It re­quires no lu­bri­ca­tion, so won’t chew trousers or spat­ter them with grease.

The light­weight belt also won’t mark the car­pet in the boot or the back seat, where it can be eas­ily stored af­ter quickly de­tach­ing the front wheel.

Mr Mc­carthy says it would be ideal for peo­ple who live close to work or who drive from the sub­urbs, then park their car and ride the last part of the jour­ney, avoid­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion and park­ing prob­lems.

There is also an op­tional mo­bile phone cra­dle with USB con­nec­tion on the han­dle­bars which the rider can use with a sat­nav de­vice, app de­vice, phone or mu­sic player.

Smart claims the bike is safer than con­ven­tional bi­cy­cles be­cause the elec­tric mo­tor pro­vides ex­tra brak­ing as­sis­tance to the hy­draulic brakes, re­cu­per­at­ing en­ergy to charge the bat­tery in the process.

Mr Mc­carthy sug­gests Smart is not a ma­jor fo­cus.

‘‘Peo­ple buy Smart — we don’t sell it,’’ he says. ‘‘ We con­tinue to sup­port Smart be­cause peo­ple love it.’’

Mr Mc­carthy says the com­pany is also in­ves­ti­gat­ing bring­ing in the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion of the elec­tric Smart car.

‘‘But only in small numbers; half a dozen or so just to trial it,’’ he says.

Peo­ple buy Smart — we don’t sell it. We­con­tinue to sup­port Smart be­cause peo­ple love it

The light­weight Smart E bike in­cor­po­rates a bat­tery into its frame

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