What the flax? Lightweight Be.e scooter's body made from plants


July 18, 2013

The Be.e electric scooter (Photo: Waarmakers)

The Be.e electric scooter (Photo: Waarmakers)

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Flax is undoubtedly one very useful plant. The seeds are both tasty and nutritious, its fibers have been used to protect our delicate skins for thousands of years, and it's helped us express ourselves through art and music. Now it's about to play a supporting role in quickly zipping us through busy city streets. The Be.e electric scooter designed by Dutch firm Waarmakers has a monocoque body made from NPSP's natural fiber-reinforced composites, a modern take on glass-fiber composites where the glass has been replaced by Flax and then mixed with bio-resin. Project partner Van.Eko launched the first models on June 27, and is now readying the funky-looking two-wheeler for full commercial production.

Manufactured, developed and tested in Amsterdam, the Be.e can get 100 Nm of torque and up to 55 km/h (34 mph) from its 4 kW electric motor. At such speeds, a rider should be looking at a range of 55 km (34 miles) from the 48 V/40 Ah battery pack, but the developers say that this can be extended to over 80 km if the e-scooter is kept below 25 km/h for the whole journey.

The Be.e is fitted with a 600 W charger that offers 20 Km (12 miles) of range for every hour spent charging, and is housed in a lockable compartment that's big enough to stow away a helmet between rides.

Waarmakers says that the design significantly reduces the total number of components needed when producing a steel-framed vehicle, while tipping the scales at a road-ready 95 kg (209 lb). The Be.e can take a combined rider and passenger weight of 180 kg (400 lb).

There's LED lighting front and back, USB charging ports to top up your smartphone while in the supplied holder, Jjuan hydraulic disc braking front and rear, electric controls from Domino, and a nano-coated windshield that's said to repel water and dirt. Van.Eko will also throw in a can of tire repair spray with every purchase, to help keep you rolling in the event of a flat.

The Be.e does appear to be available to buy and will come with a 5 year or 50,000 km warranty that covers all parts, though we're still awaiting confirmation on precisely where you can get one and for how much.

Van.Eko also intends to run a rental scheme with four range levels on offer, starting at €140 (about US$184) per month for 300 km (186 miles). If you don't use your monthly allowance, the surplus can be carried forward to the next. The company checks the distance traveled once every year, and if you've gone over your range limit, you'll be charged for the extra kilometers at the same rate as your chosen plan.

The video below offers a very brief look at the Be.e in action.

Sources: Waarmakers, Van.Eko, NPSP

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

Now that's what I call REAL carbon-fibre! Make it by using all-natural no nasty stuff hemp fibre (not MJ) and the greenies will go wild ... All jokes aside, it seems to have good specs if the price is right.

The Skud

It's a nice toy. I really like that the manufacturer gave the range at speed as well as the maximum range.


Polymer reinforced Flax worked well in the body of the East German Trabant. The 'Commies' had some good ideas it appears...


Put an inverted hitch above that rear wheel for a grocery/hardware/book cart accessory and I'm quite interested. Price being reasonable, of course.

First I've heard of bio-resin.


re; DonGateley

The first hardhats used by miners were felt hats saturated with linseed oil.


hope we continue to have electric power

Stewart Mitchell

It's Deja Vu all over again. The "Soybean Car" was actually a plastic-bodied car unveiled by Henry Ford on August 13, 1941 at Dearborn Days, an annual community festival. ... the man who was instrumental in creating the car, Lowell E. Overly, claims it was "…soybean fiber in a phenolic resin with formaldehyde used in the impregnation" (Davis, 51).

Dave B13
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