The city of Paris is filled not only with cars, but even more so motorcycles, scooters and bicycles. So it wasn’t much surprise that we’d see a few on display at the Paris Motor Show. What is interesting is how some manufacturers are looking at bikes and scooters as an entry point into an automotive brand. Smart revealed this exact strategy during their press conference and following the reveal of the eScooter and eBike prototypes. Part of the rationale behind introducing these two products is to offer more affordable transportation alternatives to a car. Both in Europe and the US, insurance for young drivers costs a lot. Smart is looking at the eBike and eScooter as either steps up to car ownership or a more space conscious solution to urban mobility.
Smart describes the eBike as a muscle powered – electric hybrid. As a rider pedals, electricity is generated and stored in a lithium-ion battery pack located just above the crankcase. Power is then transferred to a 250 watt motor in the rear hub of the bicycle giving the rider a boost on flat roads and making climbing hills easier. Smart considers the eBike the first entry point into the brand because no drivers license is need to operate it. The top speed generated by the motor is limited to 15.5 mph keeping the bike from being classified as a scooter. When braking, the rear hub actually recaptures electricity and sends it back to the battery.
The eBike was designed to appear “uncluttered”. The safety cell frame and body panels of the Smart fortwo car became the inspiration for the design of the eBike frame. For nighttime riding, the eBike has integrated front and rear LED safety lighting. The small headlight is attached to the handlebars instead of the frame so when a rider turns, their direction of travel is illuminated.
Smart designed both the eBike and eScooter to have smartphone integration. For the eBike, the owners smartphone becomes the “starter” and the immobiliser. The bike will only work when the owners phone is inserted into the cradle on the handlebars and the motor ‘locks’ when the phone is removed. The phone also serves as an interface for a speedometer, and heart rate meter.
The Smart eScooter is the next step up from the eBike. The zero-emission electric drive scooter is powered by a 4 kW disc shaped motor in the rear wheel. Smart says the eScooter can attain a top speed of 28 mph and has a range of 62 miles on a full charge. The eScooter can be plugged into a standard household socket via a charging cord located beneath the emblem on the front of the scooter. A full charge takes three to five hours. Smart has integrated some interesting safety features into the eScooter. It is equipped with electronic front and rear ABS and the brakes are activated with a single twist of the hand grip. Like the eBike, energy is recovered during braking and sent back to the battery. The eScooter also gathers electricity from a section of solar panels located on the front fascia. The scooter employs more advanced smartphone integration and has features like a range and battery charge display, navigation, and ‘parking GPS’ which sends a homing beacon to the owners smartphone so they remember where the scooter is parked.
Mini debuted the Scooter E Concept in two variations at the Paris Motor Show. In contrast to the model from Smart, the Scooter E’s showed the potential for how a scooter could be customized to more reflect the needs and personality of the owner. The drive system of the Mini is similar to the Smart, standard plug-in charging, lithium-ion batteries, and an electric motor in the rear hub.
The Scooter E integrates a lot of Mini design ques. The headlight is very similar to the MINI Countryman’s. And the tail lights resemble scaled down versions from the Mini Cooper.
Even interior design elements from Mini road cars have found their way into the design of the scooter. The handlebar gauge is similar to the large center mounted speedometer of the road cars. Another carry over is the ‘center rail’ on which accessories like small storage cases and bags can be attached.
The Scooter E is activated via a smartphone which also serves as a display for scooter controls and navigation. The plastic panel in the center of the speedometer shown above opens and a phone can be inserted horizontally.
With a change in body color and materials, Mini demonstrated how the Scooter E can have a unique and distinctive appearance.
We also saw a lot of bikes displayed around the show. Here’s a rundown on all the ones we spotted. Above is a road bike and hybrid electric city bike from Peugot.
Opel mountain bike.
Individual Bike spotted in the Ford Stand.
Vintage Lotus time trial bike.
Skoda, who provides support vehicles for the Tour de France had two station where visitors could compete head to head on a virtual stage of the TDF. The bikes were hooked up to resistance and steering tracking controllers which interacted and controlled the rider on the screen.