Struggling Mercedes brand reveals electric two-wheeler concept

Smart has revealed a new electric-powered, single track vehicle called the escooter at the Paris motor show.

Sources at parent company Mercedes-Benz describe the plug-in concept as the first step in a newly established diversification plan for its stuggling city car division.

See pics of the new Smart Scooter at the Paris motor show

The new two-wheeler is being developed as part of a new broad-based mobility strategy aimed at taking Smart into market segments beyond that occupied by its newly facelifted Fortwo and an upcoming rear-engined,-rear-wheel-drive successor to its short-lived Forfour that's due to be launched in 2013.

Based around a steel and aluminium frame with interchangeable plastic panels – features mirrored on the Fortwo – the escooter is powered by a 4kW electric motor mounted beneath the seat and driving the rear wheel.

The brushless unit draws energy from a 48-volt lithium ion battery mounted in the floor area with a capacity of 80Ah – sufficient, says Smart, for a range of up to 62 miles in typical city traffic.

Charging is via a socket located underneath the hinged Smart emblem at the front. Additional energy is supplied by solar cells mounted within the panel at the front of the escooter.

Drawing on parent company Mercedes-Benz’s safety know-how, Smart has provided the escooter with energy-recouping brakes that require a squeeze of a single traditional handlebar-mounted lever to operate both the front and rear discs. They also feature an anti-lock system.

Also included is an airbag. Mounted inside the panel beneath the handlebars, it is designed to provide protection to the torso and legs in the case of a frontal impact.

Other neat touches include Blind Spot Assist. As with Mercedes’ more recent models, it uses a small rectangular lamp mounted in the rear-view mirrors to warn of objects in the blind spot – the typical cause of accidents on scooters.

The controls are taken care of by a smartphone that slots into the centre of the handlebars to provide information on speed and energy levels, as well as acting as a communication and navigation device. A pop-out seat, meanwhile, is designed to accommodate a pillion passenger.

"Smart was originally established to tackle the need for improved mobility, especially in congested city environments. Up to now we have concentrated our efforts on four-wheel solutions," a senior Mercedes-Benz official revealed to Autocar.

"The next stage is to looking at how to expand beyond this with other environmentally friendly vehicles.”

Greg Kable

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Comments
4

14 July 2010

[quote Autocar]roof-touting bike[/quote]

'roof-toting bike', no?

or is BMW now sidelining flogging roofs from bikes?

14 July 2010

as anyone who ever tried a C1 would know, electricity isnt the answer, its much more like sailing

20 July 2010

sailing or not - future can looks like this - small electric "bikes" best for the big cities. For example EN-V in Shanghai.

20 July 2010

maybe fiat had the right idea, build a scooter into the car

you could do the bulk of the journey by car and park in a huge car park outside town and use scooters for driving in the city, no reason why they couldnt be electric as range wouldnt be so important

however the roof is a bit of a false start, doesnt add anything as it still needs to be open at the sides so no real extra weather protection and you still have to wear a helmet and suscepibilty to wind conditions make a roofed scooter a rather awkward and scary thing to use

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