In a collaborative effort between numerous Dutch companies, the world’s first bio-based electric scooter has been launched. The Be.e consists of a unique external skin – featuring a monocoque body made from flax and bio-resin – that supports the load, similar to an eggshell, eliminating the need for a frame and body panels.
Amsterdam-based company Van.Ecko came up with the idea of an electric scooter after having discovered a bio-composite material consisting of flax and bio-resin, produced by Netherlands-based NPSP Composites. In order to build a scooter from this material, it approached Amsterdam engineering and design studio Waarmakers. The Be.e project also included input from a number of students at Amsterdam Inholland, a University of Applied Sciences.
“The motivation for this project was to see if we could, in alliance with a number of different companies, build the most sustainable scooter ever,” says Simon Akkaya of Waarmakers.
“For Waarmakers, it was a unique opportunity to design a new, radically different product from a sustainable perspective, which can actually compete with its more common and far less sustainable co-scooters.”
The Be.e scooter was constructed as a singular shape of which the outer skin is also the supporting structure, much like an eggshell. This means there is no internal frame; the smooth outside surface is what gives the scooter its strength.
“Whereas in a normal scooter the frame is built with more than a hundred parts, all produced in a highly energy-consuming manner, onto which about 14 plastic panels are placed, our scooter has far less parts, a simpler assembly, and is built from natural fibres,” explains Akkaya.
The overall challenge in the design was to utilise this bio-composite material, which is similar to glass fibre, and create a shape that portrayed the scooter’s uniqueness but also demonstrated its strength.
“For a scooter, a product category with such a rich history, this really was a challenge. We have let ourselves be inspired by images of the past, but we wanted the design to have its own distinct character. It shouldn’t try to completely fit in with the others, but express that it’s a new type of scooter, and perhaps a new step in more sustainable personal transport,” says Akkaya.
The first three physical models of the Be.e scooter were built and launched at the end of June in Amsterdam. Van Ecko is hoping that it will be able to attract investors in order to fulfil the company’s mission of providing the most sustainable, fun and efficient means of transport for cities and commuters of Europe.