Every day we find more and more consumer products using natural fiber reinforced composites. While some products use the natural fiber look to enhance their product design, some products use more traditional modes of design that don’t hint at the substrate underneath. In other words, you cannot tell by looking at them that they are green. They are not your “crunchy, granola” products. Today’s example from Van.Eko falls in this latter category. It is a beautifully designed, sleek, and European styled scooter, that just happens to be constructed using natural fiber composites.
Their design choices couldn’t be more timely. According to the website European Linen and Hemp, “By 2015, just like regular cars, motorized conveyances like scooters, electric cars and light vehicles will have to comply with European Directive 2000/53, which requires recycling 85% of end-of-life car components and recovering 95%. In these ecological times, biodegradability and recyclability are becoming priorities that must be taken into account in the design of parts, so flax and hemp fibres will inevitably develop over the short term.” It appears that with the introduction of the Be.e scooter, Van.Eko will be at the fore-front in offering a product that fully complies with environmental standards.
From the website Plastics, “The so-called Be.e of company Van.Eko is an electric bio-scooter built from natural fiber-reinforced composites. Instead of using glass-fibers as strengthening material the company decided to use fibers from natural, renewable and sustainable sources such as Flax, Hemp, and even synthesized cellulose fibers.
The fiber-reinforced composite is used in a monocoque construction. This means that the exterior of the scooter is a hull shape which is so strong that it also functions as the frame of the scooter. This has many advantages for the assembly procedure but, more importantly for the end user, the exterior panels are so tough and strong that they will need a lot of manhandling before they could be damaged. In fact the company offers a 4 year warrantee on the NFC monocoque.
The funky scooter is fitted with a 4 kW and 100Nm motor placed in the rear wheel, its 1.9kWh battery provides a range of 60km for a top speed of 55kph. A second battery is also available as an option.”
The company website for Van.Eko can be seen here. And a short video of the scooter in action can be seen here: