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Ultralight composite scooter for sustainable urban mobility

News International-French

12 Aug 2015

The aptly named e-floater is an ultralightweight electric scooter powered by solar electricity that consists of more than 80% composite materials.

Commuting to and from work for ever-increasing distances has become very common nowadays. At a time when sustainable solutions are not only encouraged but sought out, more and more commuters use public transportation, their own bicycles or electric scooters. Such a scooter has to be as light as possible since when not in use, the user needs to carry it. To this end, BASF and Floatility have developed a solar-powered scooter: the e-floater.

Versatile plastic materials and glass fibre
A mineral-filled polyamide resin already widely used in the transportation industry was BASF’s first choice. The resin is declined in either Ultramid® B3M6 form – for parts where distortion needs to be as low as possible – or Ultramid® B3ZG8, an impact-modified grade that combines toughness and stiffness in order to reinforce the parts that have to resist crash loads. The e-floater also uses Ultramid® B3G10, which presents a higher fibre content without sacrificing high surface quality. The Ultramid® resin is reinforced with various grades of glass fibre. BASF’s new Ultracom® composite materials range is featured on the front body as well as the deck. Finally, the tyres and handlebars consist of Ellastolan® thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
These high-performance, versatile plastic materials have allowed the e-floater’s design to be as efficient and streamlined as possible. Thus, the e-floater boasts a full weight of 12 kilograms, allowing the users to both carry it easily and, per the device’s description, “give them a sensation of floating.”

The importance of sustainable urban mobility
This project would never have come to light without the close collaboration between BASF and Floatility. BASF, a chemical company with a portfolio ranging from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas, was the ideal partner for Floatility, a urban mobility specialist whose goal is to make cities less car-centric and more people-friendly.

This alliance worked out perfectly with BASF’s 150th birthday celebration in 2015, which was a great opportunity to introduce their global programme covering energy, food and urban living. The ultralight e-floater fits right into this programme with its zero-emission policy thanks to its solar-powered motor and its aim to introduce commuters to other ways of transportation when covering the “last kilometre” between home and work.

The e-floater project, developed jointly by the two companies, combines BASF’s materials and know-how with Floatility’s innovative capabilities, addressing a key challenge of urban environments: short-distance journeys.