Dutch eco-mobility firm Van.Eko recently launched the world’s first bio-based electric scooter in the Netherlands and this will soon be available through a rental scheme on its website.
Called Be.e, the Vespa-like e-scooter is constructed from Dutch flax and natural resins, a groundbreaking materials application for the transport industry. Usually, a conventional scooter is composed mainly of metal and plastic.
NPSP Composites, a Dutch company focused on developing sustainable and fibre-reinforced plastics, supplied the bio-based materials. It created the bio-composites with the help of a number of partners including flax supplier Van De Bilt Seeds, resin supplier Euroresins and hemp supplier HempFlax.
NPSP Composites tested the unique flax, resin and hemp combination for two years, determining the mix that would be most suitable for production and customer use.
Ordinarily, flax, a type of food and fibre crop, is used for the nutritional value of its oil and its fibres for linen fabrics.
With Be.e, what NPSP Composites did was to create a sustainable solution for the production of transportation. The mixture of flax and other resins resulted in the scooter’s bio-composite monocoque or bike frame, which is extremely strong and lightweight, making it the most durable scooter in the world, according to the materials developer.
Declaring in Dutch, NPSP Composites said: “The Be.e is innovative within three themes of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climcate Change (IPCC), a leading institution that evaluates the risks of climate change. First, the scooter has an improved and sustainable technological design thanks to the bio-composite monocoque. Second, the electric motor uses an alternative source of energy and not fuel. Finally, the Be.e is an efficient vehicle for commuting.”
Manufacturer Van.Eko also collaborated with similarly sustainability-oriented company Waarmakers for the design of the monocoque and the entire e-scooter. Maarten Heijltjes and Simon Akkaya, the socially responsible Dutch designers behind Waarmakers, envisioned the elegant look of Be.e and engineered its structure.
Akkaya, speaking to design blog Dezeen, said, “The monocoque structure means there is no internal frame. The smooth outside surface is what gives the scooter its strength.”
The duo also explained that the bio-based design greatly lessens the number of parts needed in producing a motorbike. A traditional steel-framed motorbike, according to NPSP Composites, has more than 1,400 parts and plastic caps. The Be.e has a run-ready weight of 95 kilograms (including battery pack) and it can handle two passengers with a total permissible load of 180 kilograms, Van.Eko added.
Aside from the monocoque feature, the e-scooter also boasts of LED front and rear indicators, USB charging sockets for smartphones, cruise-control and boost function buttons, and a nano-coated windshield that is water- and dirt-resistant.
The Be.e uses a four-kilowatt electric motor and can take a maximum speed of 55 kilometres per hour on its 48-volt battery. An optional second battery is also available, stated Van.Eko.
There is a 600-watt charger on the eco-friendly scooter as well. It provides 20 kilometres of range for every hour spent charging. While Van.Eko has not fully specified the distribution details of the Be.e, it has set a rental scheme for the use of Be.e.