The transportation industry is experiencing a monumental transition period.
It is not just low emission propulsion technology, there are a myriad of new and exciting solutions that are looking to change the way we move people and goods. At the heart of it is sustainability and the pursuit of net-zero, minimising the impact we have, collectively, on the planet.
It is against this backdrop that the world’s first micromobility racing series has been established. Inspired by the two-wheeled electric scooters that have become popular as short-distance transportation in many cities around the world, the eSkootr Championship (eSC) is intended to champion the micromobility transition and technologies.
A purpose-built racing machine
Racing on circuits around 400-800 metres long, reaching speeds of over 100 kilometres per hour and cornering lean angles of up to 55 degrees, these are far from your typical commuter vehicle. The S1-X, developed and manufactured by Italian advanced engineering company, YCOM, is to city e-scooters what a Formula One car is to a family sedan. That is to say, the S1-X is a purpose-built racing machine. Throughout its development, eSC and YCOM were continuously looking for ways to improve the sustainability of the S1-X, making it the best representation of both micromobility and sustainable motorsport.
Understanding the carbon cost of conventional motorsport composites, eSC and YCOM wanted to minimise the use of materials like carbon fibre. Having worked with Bcomp previously, YCOM’s engineers suggested that natural fibre composites be used to create the S1-X’s aerodynamic bodywork.
A sustainable solution
A world leader in sustainable lightweighting, and with significant motorsport experience, Bcomp was ideally positioned to provide a sustainable solution for eSC. Bcomp’s sustainable flax fibre composites have been used in many racing series around the world, including Formula One, Formula E and GT racing – a proven technology and perfect material for the S1-X.
While offering similar stiffness and weight to carbon fibre, a part made from Bcomp’s ampliTex™ cuts cradle-to-gate CO2 emissions by 80 per cent. The technical fabric harnesses the inherent characteristics of flax fibres to deliver composite components that are far more sustainable than traditional materials while offering equivalent performance and a 250 per cent improvement in vibration damping versus carbon fibre.
Khalil Beschir, Co-founder and COO of eSC, commented, “The future of sustainable mobility is at the heart of eSC, as such, working with companies like Bcomp is crucial. The inclusion of Bcomp composite bodywork in the S1-X is a clear demonstration that sustainability does not necessarily mean a compromise in performance – a popular misconception within the motorsport industry. Just as they have proven in the Porsche GT4 race car programme and with Lando Norris’s Formula One seat, Bcomp’s sustainable composites offer many advantages in motorsport applications.”
The use of ampliTex™ in the S1-X’s bodywork has another critical advantage over carbon composites. Unlike the brittle fracturing and splintering of carbon fibre, Bcomp’s natural fibre composites are far more ductile under failure loads. This offers a significant safety improvement for riders, marshals, ‘pit crews’ and spectators, eliminating one of the primary hazards created by collisions and crashes in motorsport. This also translates to substantial reduction in debris-related tyre punctures – a significant safety and racing hazard.
While the cradle-to-gate emissions of the bodywork are far lower than equivalent carbon fibre parts, Bcomp’s composite technologies have another distinct sustainability advantage. While carbon fibre is often discarded to landfill or ‘downcycled’, Bcomp’s sustainable composites can be used for thermal energy recovery, minimising waste while generating useful energy from a renewable material.
“A racing series like eSC has the potential to raise awareness – on a societal level – about the importance of micromobility and sustainability. Working alongside YCOM to develop the ampliTex™ aerodynamic package for the S1-X and being a part of such a novel motorsport series is extremely exciting. Applications like this continue to demonstrate the versatility of natural fibre composites and the potential our technology has to help decarbonise mobility and motorsport,” says Christian Fischer, CEO and Co-Founder of Bcomp.
Overall, the bodywork produced using Bcomp’s flax fibre-based ampliTex™ offered equivalent stiffness and weight to the initial carbon fibre panels while delivering a significant CO2 emissions saving, improved crash safety and vibration damping as well as a far more sustainable end-of-life solution for crashed or discarded bodywork panels.