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Hemp scooter on Kickstarter environmentally friendly

The environmentally friendly Be.e scooter, invented by Dutch startup Van.eko, has a 90 percent hemp and 10 percent flax fiber body impregnated with biologically-derived resin. The carbon footprint is reduced by about 50 parts that are usually welded, screwed or snapped together in regular scooters.

Simon Akkaya, with the design firm Waarmakers that developed the Be.e said, “In a nutshell; There is a two-part shell, batteries, two wheels and some glue." It is called a monocoque structural approach with the outer surface acting as both shell and support structure, common in Formula 1 Supercars and high-impact transportation but not commuter vehicles. It makes a strong but lightweight, extremely sustainable material.

Like other electric vehicles, the scooter has a 55 kilometer (34 miles) to 80 kilometer (50 miles) range with top speed of 55 km/h (34 mph) with a 2000-cycle battery charged by a standard 200 volt outlet in less than four hours or a 600 watt charger in under three hours. Adding a second battery doubles the range. It can go from 0 to 50 kph in seven seconds. Nano-coating the windscreen with a hydrophobic layer deflects water droplets and dirt particles improving visibility in dark and rainy conditions.

The scooters are rented by the week or month by Be.eKeepers, Van.eko's name for their distributors on an Airbnb-style website. It removes ownership risk from customers in hopes that happy renters and riders will spread the word about the brand around the world. Van.eko will also be able to rerfurbish used scooters and scooters will be available at a lower cost to everyone. The monthly fee is about $340, Be.eKeepers can rent short term to third parties called in the Van.Eko scooter-sharing program managed by Van.Eko and make money on the rental fee of five eruos for the first two hours, then one euro per hour that is shared between Van.Eko and ZBe.eKeepers.

The company's goal is to supply the "highest raw-material efficiency per driven kilometer in the world." The program went live on crowdfunding Kickstarter in July 2014, will pilot in Amsterdam and hopefully spread across European countries. It has to raise €150,000 by August 18, 2014. See the Kickstarter website for more details.

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