Thursday, December 9, 2010
The Smallest Smart Ever: Electric 'escooter' Uncovered before Paris Show
Previewing a possible expansion to the world of two wheels in the very near future, Daimler's Smart division will showcase a scooter concept at next week's Paris motor show. Seen here for the first time in the flesh, the purely electrically driven 'escooter' uses a 48-volt lithium-ion battery pack placed behind the paneling in the foot area and is capable of traveling up to 100 kilometers (over 60 miles) on a single charge.
The company says the batteries can be fully recharged through any standard household power socket, within three to five hours. The charging socket is located at the front of the scooter underneath a hinged smart emblem.
Smart's two-wheel study is driven by a disc-shaped wheel hub motor in the rear wheel, which offers an output of 4 kW (equal to 5.3-horsepower) allowing the scooter to reach a top speed of 45 km/h or 28mph.
The connection to Smart's four-wheel products is made through the electric scooter's supporting chassis structure which the company says is "consciously modelled on the tridion safety cell of the Fortwo" and the fully interchangeable plastic bodypanels.
Technical highlights include the use of an anti-lock braking system (ABS) specially adapted for a two-wheeler, an airbag integrated in the paneling under the handlebars, and Blind Spot Assist, which like the system found on Mercedes cars, draws the rider's attention to vehicles following close behind that are not visible in the "blind spot" of the rear-view mirrors.
Another cool feature is the Smartphone that is placed in the centre of the handlebars and is fully linked with the escooter. It replaces the traditional instrument panel providing info on speed, range and battery charge level and even acts as a navigation system.