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Developing an electric trike with Hydro EcoDesign to rethink urban mobility

Re:Move  is a new, sustainable way to carry and deliver goods to spark new thinking around urban infrastructure and mobility. Made in low carbon aluminum, it is the result of a Hydro EcoDesign collaboration between Hydro, Polestar and other industry leaders in design and e-mobility.

To reach a climate-neutral future and sustainable mobility solutions, new and unexpected collaborations are a must. Inspired by this shared conviction, a group of designers, leaders in e-mobility and material engineering joined forces in a unique project.

Commissioned by Wallpaper* Magazine, and created by designer Konstantin Grcic, material experts from Hydro collaborated with electric car maker Polestar and electric motorcycle pioneer CAKE to develop Re:Move. Re:Move is a small but multi-functional electric transporter for the city of the immediate future, and presents a new, sustainable way to carry and deliver goods. The Hydro EcoDesign concept helped to ensure that Re:Move got a smaller environmental footprint by using low-carbon aluminium. Read more about Hydro EcoDesign in this free white paper: 

Re:Move is an electric trike made to inspire more sustainable urban mobility

Radical in design, engineering and ambition, Re:Move aims to spark new thinking around urban infrastructure and mobility. 

The coronavirus crisis opened a window to a world with less noisy cities, where the air is cleaner to breathe. In parallel, there has been a surge in online shopping and home deliveries. Inspired by this, the group behind Re:Move saw the need to reimagine last-mile deliveries and how goods are transported within cities as the world looks to radically reduce the reliance on combustion engines. It strives to become a catalyst for change, inspiring new thinking around electric mobility. 

“Hydro wants to lead the way in the green energy transition, and we believe collaborations between leading partners are key to accelerate this change. With our growth in renewable energy and low-carbon aluminium we can be an important partner for companies in their effort to further reduce emissions in production and use. This is why we are proud to work together with partners like Polestar to help accelerate the shift to more sustainable mobility,” says Hilde M. Aasheim, President & CEO of Hydro.

“This is only the beginning,” states Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath. “The electric drivetrain is only the first step, then we have to look at the whole supply chain and what materials we design with. This is so much more exciting than the last twenty years when designers were just making things pretty.” 

Replacing delivery vans and making last mile deliveries greener

The multi-functional electric transporter is only 750 mm wide – perfectly suited to bicycle lanes – and is capable of carrying loads of up to 180 kg. The low-carbon aluminium chassis has an electric tilt mechanism, allowing the vehicle to lean into turns, improving stability and maneuverability, and reducing its turning circle to less than seven meters. Disc brakes instill further dynamic confidence in the electric vehicle, while a damped rear swing arm is designed for driver comfort and to reduce fatigue. Always-on lighting improves forward visibility for the driver, while brake lights, optional indicators and a horn ensure the vehicle is visible and audible to pedestrians and traffic.

With a limited maximum speed of 25 km/h (in line with e-bikes) and a 2.2 kWh battery as standard, Re:Move is equally fit for replacing delivery vans to radically improve city traffic flow or bringing cargo transportation to rural areas lacking developed infrastructure. The frame uses unique composite covers, a natural replacement for plastics and flax-based composites.

Watch the video from the SXSW Online 2021 conference between the partners on how the project came together and how Hydro contributed:

The power of collaboration  

Grcic worked with the Hydro engineering team, Polestar’s design engineering lead at the company’s UK R&D facility, Chris Staunton, and CAKE founder Stefan Ytterborn to overcome the complex engineering challenges of realizing his design.  

 “Good design is inherently sustainable design. Everyone involved in this distinctive project shares the belief that purity can be a driver for sustainability,” says Grcic, Re:Move designer. “Over the last year, we have worked together, engineers and designers, to create a versatile solution that has never lost sight of its purpose. Ultimately, its design is all the better for it.  The horizontal platform and the vertical shield is something you don’t see in vehicle design. This is how you’d build a table or a shelf. I think the simplicity and directness, the pragmatism, is nice, says Grcic.”

The project was commissioned by Wallpaper* Magazine, who saw that the pandemic was in some ways positive in terms of moving the project forward, as it made it easier to meet digitally on a weekly basis with no travel needed.

“The Re:Move project is an amazing example of what you can achieve when you bring together the right collaborators and they get behind a good, clear idea. There is just a real energy and sense of purpose in play. The engineering and material challenges are actually quite complex but at every turn, solutions have been found. Konstantin has responded to that and the design of Re:Move has rapidly evolved, becoming more compelling and dynamic,” says  Wallpaper contributing editor Nick Compton.

“With the obligation to inspire towards zero emissions, Re:Move defines a new vehicle category. We’re delighted to contribute with our high-capacity battery, hub motor and smart technology,” says Stefan Ytterborn, CAKE Founder and CEO.

About Hydro EcoDesign

All products have an environmental impact, starting with material extraction, then to production, transportation, usage, disposal and recycling. Hydro EcoDesign can help you design and produce products with increased functionality and a smaller environmental footprint. In the design process we work together on topics like designing for disassembly, disruptive business models, take-back systems, supplier engagement, packaging and enhanced recycling.