Electric scooters, with their small physical footprint and non-gas powered drivetrain, are pretty good for the planet right? Sure, but there’s always room for improvement, especially when you consider what toxic materials were likely used to construct the two wheeled vehicle beneath your butt.
That’s where the Amsterdam-based design studio Waarmakers comes in, recently unveiling for sustainable mobility company Van.Eko Be.e, a scooter mostly made from “natural fibre-reinforced composites” (NFCs) or, more simply put, mostly made from good old Mother Nature.
The Be.e, noted the designers, is a frameless, bio-composite electric scooter with a monocoque body made from flex and bio-resin. It doesn’t get much more complex than that. The vehicle’s external skin is of a unique construction that “supports the load, similar to an eggshell, eliminating the need for a frame and the usual numerous plastic panels.” This exterior, more natural shell is believed to be so tough that Van.Eko has put behind it a four year warranty.
In choosing what materials would go into the scooter’s frame, Van.Eko pointed out that while even common plastics found in other scooters come from natural sources in a sense, they
are derived from crude oil where once a tree, a plant or an animal. However, it took over a million years to convert these organic origins into oil, to then manipulate the oil in refiners to make the base materials for current plastics. In the case of NFCs we use organic material of modern provenance. So the materials we use took just one harvesting season to be created, we then manipulate these resources to be made into a durable material and use it in a scooter that will be around for another 10 years or more before we return the materials into the resource cycle.
Specifications of Be.e indicate a maximum speed of 55 km/h (34 MPH) and a maximum range of 80 km (49 miles) if the scooter is driven an average of 25 km/h (15 MPH). It operates on a 48V 40AH battery, according to Inhabitat, and has “the option of a second battery that is able to be installed and juiced by a 600W charger.” It also sports a 4kW electric motor.
Other features of note include USB charging sockets, a smartphone holder, cruise control and “boost function.” Be.e is currently in prototype mode, and is envisioned for riding around the streets of Europe.