An electric bike by Smart, the Mercedes-owned purveyor of little cars, has gone on sale this weekend. It's got a 62-mile electric range and costs roughly the same as an 03 plate Smart ForTwo: £2,500. (Please, no complaints - we said "roughly".)
The pedelec (pedal electric cycle) can be ordered now for late May deliveries, though we don't expect demand to outstrip supply for what is, basically, a mode of transport that retains all that's harrowing about a bicycle but removes the major benefit - improved cardiovascular fitness.
Still, it's a stylish looking bike, and will make going up hills a doddle.
It's won a design award already, in fact, taking the esteemed red dot gong for 'best of the best' design quality, ahead of 4,500 other products.
Its electric motor is a 200-watt unit housed in the rear wheel hub, which provides four levels of power assistance to lethargic riders, and is switched on as soon as the pedals begin to move. So, the cyclist will always have to physically pedal, though they can select the amount of assistance from the motor.
It features regenerative braking to recharge the battery when the stoppers are on, and a mobile phone cradle is an option, so that riders can charge their mobiles on the move.