Electrical scooter made of hemp and biobased resin.
At Van.Eko we develop next generation mobility concepts. By combining state of the art sustainable materials and technology with awesome design we aim to build the coolest vehicles to make a positive impact on traffic congestion, air quality and our mobile life-styles. The Be.e is our first product: An electric scooter fully made from natural materials.
State of the art sustainable materials
The frame and body of the Be.e is built up using Hemp fibres infused with a biobased resin. It’s a natural fiber reinforced composite monocoque structure. That means we don’t need to use a steel frame in the centre of the body, which in a conventional scooter takes on average 100 parts to make. This technique makes the scooter light, stiff, very sturdy, easy to handle and, oh yes: Beautiful, at least we think so.
High-end electric scooter for the sharing community.
On top of the sustainability of the scooter itself we want to take sustainability a level further into the sharing domain. We want to introduce the Be.e in a vehicle-sharing scheme that will empower its users and facilitate city traffic: Be.e sharing.
In this scheme there are a few roles. Be.eKeepers get to use the Be.e for a monthly fee (around €250,-) for their own use. If they are not intending to use the scooter, and they are willing to share it, they can offer the scooter to third parties; WannaBe.e's, for short term rental. So if you're heading into town, and not sure how to get from the station to your final destination you can look up (on an app) if anyone nearby has a Be.e on offer, which makes you a WannaBe.e. Once you find a Be.eKeeper, you place a reservation, make an appointment and off you go. €5,- for the first 2 hours, €5 for every subsequent hour. The Be.eKeeper earns back some of the monthly expenses and the WannaBe.e gets a fun, fast and clean way to make it to his last appointment avoiding traffic, buses and crammed metro's.
The Kickstarter Campaign
For now we won't be introducing Be.eSharing just yet. First of all, we need to get the Be.e's into production and on the roads. And that's where this campaign comes in. Fund us, and enjoy the ride!
In the Netherlands we will introduce a stripped down version of the Be.eSharing plan. Netherlands based Backers will be able to purchase a months (or more) use of the Be.e. This means that if you choose to opt-in you will receive a fully functional Be.e for a consecutive month, or more depending on the level of backing. Note that one Be.e will be shared with other backers, just not with other WannaBe.e's for now. After successful funding we will poll all the backers for their personal months of preference. The earlier you back, the higher your choice counts! Van.Eko will organize the distribution and local handovers.
For foreign backers we have the option to buy. The Be.e will be offered with an EU type-approval, which means you will be able to apply for licensing and registration with your national authorities. For most countries outside of the EU the EU-type-approval will be sufficient to pass road-legality. We will offer support & service to any backers outside of the EU to ensure that vehicles delivered will also be registered. Once funded we will poll with all our foreign backers as to their preferences for the scooter. You'll have the option to choose a color for the body, a personal message infused in the frame, what your preferred speed setting is (25, 35, 45 and 55km/h are all possible) and where you want it delivered.
Additionally we have some teasers that can be purchased all over the world.
If you really like the Be.e and you’re into 3D printed products, you can purchase a 1:15 .stl model of the Be.e for €25,-. This is an exclusive offer, solely for the purpose of our Kickstarter campaign. Note that this is not a physical product but a 3D file that you can use to print your own 3D model from.
If you don’t have your own 3D-printer but would still like the 1:15 scale model, we’ll have it printed for you. At €50,- the model is yours. Again this is an exclusive offer, solely available through the Kickstarter campaign.
Or, if you would just like to try out the Be.e for a day, you can purchase a voucher for €50,- and use he Be.e for a 24hr period. No shipping involved, besides that you have to be in Amsterdam to redeem your voucher J.
- Vehicle Category: L1e
- Engine type: Electric Hub motor
- Engine Power: 4 kW continuous 5.5 kW peak, 100 Nm torque
- Weight: Approx. 95kg
- Size: L: 1800mm, W: 740mm, H: 1800mm (with windscreen)
- Permissible load: 180kg, 2 passenger @ 90kg
- Max Speed: ~58 km/h (can be limited to lower speeds)
- Max Range: 60 km travelling at 45 km/h under bad conditions, under good conditions and flat roads distances over 80km should be possible. With lower top speeds the range will increase to over 100 km's.
- Battery: Li-ion 48V 50Ah pack,
- Battery cycle life: 1500-2000 cycles to 80% remaining capacity
- Charger: integrated inside, 600W, charges 1 battery in 4-5 hours, 230V AC standard appliance input. Can be switched to US 110V setting.
- Boost function: Get 30% more power for 20s
- Reverse gear: It's got one! Easy for parking in tight spots
- Horn: Yes
- Lighting: All LED, apart from the headlight for type approval reasons
- Brakes: High end Front and rear disk-brakes
- Tires: Front ContiTwist 120/70-12, Rear ContiTwist 130/70-13
- Double 5V USB outlet on the handlebar
- Smartphone holder on the handlebar, handy for navigation.
- Helmet compartment under the saddle
The History of the Be.e
It all started back in 2007 for my graduation as an Industrial Design Engineer. The assignment was to see in how far you could incorporate bio-based materials into the parts of an electric scooter. After some months of research I found that it would be possible to build the complete body and frame from bio based composites in a so called monococque structure.
With that knowledge at hand a first design and proof of concept was built. That was finalized back in 2009 thanks to some generous governmental grants.
Clearly this wasn't worthy to present to the world yet. But it did prove to us that our theoretical analysis actually worked in real life. It didn't look good, but it worked!
The project really took flight once we started collaboration between InHolland, NPSP, QWIC and Waarmakers designers. At that time I was working for QWIC and as such coordinated and engineered the development process of the Be.e with these partners. The goal was to re-evaluate all aspects of our product, put up a re-design with improved manufacturing methods, a better design, extensive material testing and research and above all the build of 5 pre-production prototypes. That is where, from a technical standpoint, we stand now.
Risks and challenges
The future and possible challenges
In any product development project problems will arise. Luckily, whilst building the first 5 prototypes, we have encountered and fixed most of these problems. And if new problems do arise, we are in close and direct contact with all our suppliers so that we can quickly address these.
Most of the Be.e is already finalized. Lights, horn, windscreen, tires,wheels, suspension, brakes, saddle, locks, speedo, on board battery charger and other electrics are all defined and tested. And we have good contact with our suppliers to get these ordered and delivered in time once we start off series production. Parts that still need molds to be manufactured are: Front and rear fenders, Lock cover, Helmet compartment and the Foot rest. These are all parts that will be made in the same materials as the frame and will be co-developed with one of our close partners NPSP.
Then there is the Battery. We are in close contact with our preferred battery manufacturer who will assemble Sony Li-ion cells into a 48V50Ah pack. 2 of these can be fitted into the battery bay below the footrest. They are an experienced partner who know our needs and requirements. Moreover, this is not the first time we are involved in such a project, so we know which pitfalls to avoid.
The final step is assembly and type approval. Because we want to fit a license plate and legally drive on the roads! Our assembly facility, ESFA in Rotterdam, is an RDW approved assembly location. We have collaborated with them and the RDW previously on other projects and have experience in getting through the mountains of paperwork involved.
All in all most hurdles have already been taken. If they do occur, we maintain a lot of confidence in our suppliers and our cooperative ability to mitigate these issues as we have done in the past.
- (45 days)