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Mercedes-Benz first foray into the two-wheeled market via its city car offshoot, smart, has been confirmed

The smart escooter broke cover in September 2010, where  it launched at the Paris Motor Show and back then it was simply a concept.

But not anymore.

smart parent company Mercedes-Benz has confirmed the escooter will reach production in 2014, ostensibly the first two-wheeled vehicle from the German luxury marque since the early 1900s.

The move will see Mercedes-Benz joining its German rivals BMW and Audi in the two-wheeled segment, the latter just recently confirming the take-over of Ducati.

Dr. Joachim Schmidt, the global sales and marketing chief at Mercedes-Benz Cars, confirmed the escooter's production in two year's time, but it remains to be seen if the company will delve into motorcycle market.

"The decision in favour of the escooter has been made. With this step, we are adding a further important component to our smart mobility concept for urban mobility in the future," said Schmidt.

Expected to be powered by a similar 5.4hp (4kW) electric hub motor as the concept version, the smart escooter is designed for European markets where low power scooters can be ridden without motorcycle licenses.

The plug-in electric scooter has a top speed of 45km/h and a range of about 100km.

Mercedes-Benz Australia's Corporate Communications Manager, Jerry Stamoulis, told the escooter is being considered for the local market, and would be part of a reinvigorated smart brand.

"We're definitely looking at it. We're looking to lift the smart brand in Australia and we'd like to see motorbikes as part of that."

Stamoulis said 'Benz is investigating whether the escooter would be technically feasible in Australia, given its meagre maximum speed and charging technology.

While the concept version of the smart escooter was kitted out with things like heated handlebars, a blind spot detection system and even an airbag, the production version may be a little less exciting, but smart says it will massage the design to ensure it looks modern and has a family resemblance.

One element that could be retained from the escooter concept is the iPhone dock and integration system, which essentially turns your phone into your key and allows users to prime various functions remotely. Once docked, it acts as the instrument cluster with speedometer, battery gauge and other readouts.

Published : Friday, 11 May 2012
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