The Be.e electric scooter, made from hemp

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It should come as no surprise that this electric scooter comes from a firm based in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands…

The Be.e was presented last year, and was supposed to become available in the spring of this year. It is back in the news because it finally went the route of crowdfunding and went live on Kickstarter. Manufactured by the Dutch start-up Van.Eko, the Be.e’s originality comes from its monocoque frame made out of 90% hemp and 10% flax, infused with bio-based resin. It also has a retro look with an odd headlamp and a large windscreen that make it stand out from other electric scooters.

Otherwise, it is a rather traditional electric scooter: a 4 kW rear hub motor, a 2.5 kWh lithium battery and a range of 55 km (34 miles) to 80 km (50 miles) with a top speed of 55 km/h (34 mph). It comes with the option of adding a second battery, which doubles the range.

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Van.Eko plans to push the sustainability level of the project even further by introducing the Be.sharing plan. Be.eKeepers rent the Be.e for a monthly fee of about €250 ($340), and are then free to also rent it to third parties, called Wanna.be.es, for short term rentals, in a scooter-sharing program managed by Van.Eko. The income from the rental fee (€5 euros for the first 2 hours, then €1 per hour) is shared between Van.Eko and the Be.eKeeper.

All this sounds very good, but will the project fly? Kickstarter seems to becoming the funding source of last resort… There are right now 8 electric scooter projects listed on Kickstarter, of which 6 failed and 2 are still open. The Van.Eko proposal will be funded if €150,000 are pledged by August 18. So far, as of July 15, only €407 have been pledged.

As interesting and innovative as the Van.Eko’s plan is, it seems to be in desperate need for some serious investors.

 

 

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