A R33 000, pedal-assisted battery bicycle could be a hard sell in South Africa.

The Smart electric bike can now be ordered in the UK through Smart retailers, ahead of its launch late in May.

The £2495 (R33 000!) Smart ebike is a pedelec (Pedal Electric Cycle - strictly speaking a hybrid vehicle) from Smart and electric bike experts Grace.

A 200-watt BionX electric motor in the rear wheel-hub is switched on as soon as the rider selects one of four power levels of assistance and starts pedalling.

Muscle power is turned into pedal power to the rear wheel via a maintenance-free, carbon-fibre belt drive.

Smart says a charge from the 423Wh lithium-ion battery can deliver up to 100km. The portable battery can be charged on or off the bike, the latter by a conventional plug socket. It can also be charged when the wheel-hub motor becomes a generator as the rider brakes.

Riders can also charge mobile devices on the move by using the Smart ebike's USB interface. - Belfast Telegraph

Daimler SA says it has no plans at present to release the ebike in South Africa.