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The Smart ebike by Hussein Al-Attar

Concept, Electric bike, Shows & Events 13 5768

Last month, I briefly mentioned the pedal assist e-bike, designed by Hussein Al-Attar, that Smart unveiled at the Paris Auto Show. In particular I mentioned the iPhone/smartphone based control center on that concept bike, a feature I had read about in a Cyclelicious post. There is much more to this Smart ebike than that iphone dock though, so I want to share a bit more information about it in this post.

Hussein posted several images of his concept bike prototype on the German Car Forum. He explains in his post that after an internship in 2009 and 2010 at Audi’s design studios in Ingolstadt, Germany, he had the chance to do another internship at Mercedes-Benz Advanced design studio in Sindelfingen. During that second internship, he was asked to design an electric bike in collaboration with Grace, a Berlin based bike company. He started the project in June, and it was so well received that his employers wanted to show a prototype at the Paris Motorshow in October. Knowing that, I think the resulting bike is pretty amazing. I can imagine that a lot of late nights went into making this bike a reality in time for the show.

In addition to posting prototype pictures on the German Car Forum, Hussein posted some of his sketches and renderings on the Behance network. The sketches in particular are very nice. You can see a few more of them below, but make sure you check out the Behance gallery to see them all. If you are interested, read more about the Smart e-bike at several of the different auto blogs.

I am not usually a big fan of bikes from car companies, but this one is an exception. It is pretty impressive for an intern who never really planned to design an electric bike. The result shouldn’t really come as a surprise though. As I have said before, sometimes the fresh perspective that a talented designer outside the bicycle industry can bring to a project is a good thing.

Images via Behance Network and German Car Forum

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  1. Ron Callahan November 4, 2010 at 9:42 pm -  Reply

    It’s very attractive and stylish and seems to have fewer of the characteristics that sometimes plague “industrial design” bikes. You can raise and lower the seat, the cranks seem fairly standard and a Gates-like belt drive is imminently practical.

    I’d like it as a non e-bike, please. I just have a hard time getting behind (or on) e-bikes.

  2. Impossibly Stupid November 5, 2010 at 3:29 am -  Reply

    Lots of style, but not a lot of substance. The one thing I don’t want to see from car makers is what they initially did with electric cars: making them such odd looking and expensive beasts that nobody who could afford them could afford to be seen in them. It’s not “smart” to redesign every component of so that you can’t take advantage of economies of scale.

    Electric bikes aren’t going anywhere when you price them higher than a good motorcycle. Even Trek inexplicably thinks an electric upgrade is worth $1500 more than the standard $500 bike it’s built on. Both they and this designer need to reconnect with reality.

    • Simon November 5, 2010 at 5:01 am -  Reply

      Even priced higher than a motorbike, they remain cheaper: no fuel, no insurance, no special clothing, etc.

      Also concerning innovation from car manufacturers: looking back at the last 100 years, innovation in cycling does not come from the bike industry (racing gear apart). Cargo bikes, folding bikes, recumbents, bmx: none of these come from a major brand. So I guess good ebikes probably wont come from trek or giant, but rather from a company not usually concerned by UCI regulations and success in the tour de France.

      • Impossibly Stupid November 5, 2010 at 10:34 am -  Reply

        I have a motorcycle endorsement, so I can easily say you’re fooling yourself.

        No fuel: A powered *anything* requires energy. Just because it is electric instead of gas doesn’t make it free. And even if it did, you can already get electric scooters (and some lesser electric motorcycles) for under $1.5k that will be more useful to most people than a bike like this one.

        No insurance: Motorcycle insurance is vanishingly inexpensive compared to cars. And it buys you the privilege of going on major highways at much higher speeds than a bike. If you’re simply trying to skirt the law/insurance issues with motorized vehicles going at lower speeds, you might as well try to market an “assisted velocipede”, or find some other way to do away with the pretense of it being something you expect people to pedal like a regular bike.

        No special clothing: What world do you live in that doesn’t have a specialty market for cycling clothing? You are no more or less obligated to wear a t-shirt and cut-offs on a motorcycle than on a bike.

        The real question, though, remains whether or not the marginal increase in ease with an electric bike offsets all the negatives associated with it compared to a regular bike. I don’t see how it’s worth paying 4 times as much, for starters. It would always be a hassle to charge/replace the battery. I wouldn’t look forward to pedaling the extra weight if the battery was drained.

        As to where the innovation will come from, I can’t say. All I know is that electric bikes for $5k and cars for $60k are not long-term solutions to our transportation needs. Bikes should certainly play a greater role in the future, but electric bikes like this one do more harm than good.

        • Simon November 5, 2010 at 11:12 am -  Reply

          Well, I leave in Ireland, where the price of petrol is well over a euro per litre (like 7 dollars a gallon?). Compare to that electricity is very, very cheap. Also, ebikes are eletricaly assisted only, the rest is powered by our legs, so it does not cost much, really.
          Regarding the purpose of an electric bike, I am not sure it’s only a “marginal increase in ease” when you leave in a hilly area, or are over 60 years old.

          That said the price tag of $5000 does not seems reasonable. is it the price of this bike?

          • Impossibly Stupid November 5, 2010 at 3:56 pm -  Reply

            Isn’t the major cost of petrol over there from taxes? If so, electric vehicles are essentially getting a free ride on roads that are paid for by regular cars. That will have to change if people adopt more electric cars, making the argument much less compelling. I’m not even sure how you’d begin to tax electricity for road use, though. I’m sure they’ll find a way. 🙂

            Regarding the ease issue, my point stands. Either it is your legs doing the work, in which case the heavier bike works against you, or the electrics are providing some mechanical advantage, in which case it’ll cost you just as much as the marginal difference, which is lessened by the fact that the bike is now laden with electronics. The 60 year old doesn’t get to go up hills for free!

            Regarding price, I think I was being fair. Like I said, for a stock Trek bike, it jumps from a $500 standard to $2000 for the electric version. The bike shown here is not a stock bike by any measure. It might just be a concept now, but even if it were produced it would be almost all custom parts, and that’ll add a lot to the price.

  3. m k choudhury February 5, 2012 at 10:26 am -  Reply

    I want to buy one e bike. where is found india. price ? maybe folding available ?

    • Meraj Husain December 29, 2012 at 5:23 am -  Reply

      is it not for Indians?

  4. terry February 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm -  Reply

    When smart ebike available to Ireland?

  5. terry June 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm -  Reply

    Are you selling Smart Bike?

    regards terry

  6. Erik March 5, 2013 at 7:37 am -  Reply

    Beautiful work! Has anyone noticed the in your face sensuality of the frame? Just saying. Maybe that design element is key in the products success.

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