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World’s First Hemp Scooter Made In Amsterdam
TruthOnPot.com – The Be.e might look like just another electric scooter, but it’s far from it. Unlike traditional scooters, the Be.e is made from a hemp fiber composite that is stronger than fiberglass yet far more sustainable. Top that off with a 2000-cycle battery that charges in less than 4 hours from any standard wall outlet, the Be.e scooter is an all-around green innovation.
Vaniek Colenbrander, an Amsterdam-based engineer and founder of Van.eko, the Dutch company behind the scooter, highlighted the environmental advantages of hemp in an interview with Motherboard.
“Glass and carbon fibers are the real pollutants… Creating one fiber of carbon costs around a 1,000x the energy of making a fiber of glass. And making a fiber of glass costs about 100x the energy of making a hemp fiber.”
Colenbrander also explained how the hemp fibers undergo a vacuum molding process (called Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding) in order to create the scooter’s hard outer shell.
“The fibers are taken off in a completely natural process, and are then woven into non-woven or woven mats. These are placed into a mold, which is then closed, vacuumed out from one end, and from another end a polyester-based resin drops into the void between the two molds and where the resin is at.”
The Be.e carries an unusual structural design known as monocoque – an approach commonly used in making Formula 1 race cars. By integrating the hemp-based outer shell with the scooter’s support structure, the company was able to cut out “some of the 50 odd parts that have to be snapped, welded, or screwed together in traditional scooters,” reports WIRED.
Simon Akkaya, one of the designers that worked on the Be.e project, told WIRED that this allows the entire scooter to be made from only a few base components.
“In a nutshell; There is a two-part shell, batteries, two wheels and some glue.”
Despite the simplicity of its parts and the retro look, the Be.e scooter has a number of hi-tech features, including LED lighting, USB charging, GPS tracking and even a cradle for your smartphone. It also accelerates from 0-50 km/h in seven seconds and can travel 60-90 km in a single charge.
While a commercial launch is still being set, the company hopes to have its scooters available in Amsterdam by 2014. The plan involves introducing a rental program similar to Airbnb, where scooters can be rented on a weekly or monthly basis.
Eventually, Colenbrander sees his hemp scooters being ridden in countries across Europe – just one of the many places in the world where hemp is leading the way to a greener future.