Floating Over the Last Mile to Solve Short Commutes

Imagine taking the subway only to get off and have to walk to your bus stop, job or home. This is a daily occurrence, because walking an hour to your final destination seems more sufficient than sitting in the car stuck in traffic.

But what if you had a solution to get from point A to B more conveniently, eliminating that last mile frustration?

"We saw there was demand for a new solution - short distance - and we wanted to develop something that stands out from the current models."

Today, people are moving to alternative forms of transportation as a result of growing urbanization, rising fuel costs and roadway congestion. This increase in population to major city centers has created a transportation challenge, known as "the last mile," when a short distance needs to be covered in a quick and efficient manner.

"We saw there was demand for a new solution - short distance - and we wanted to develop something that stands out from the current models. Something that is convenient and safe but also fun to drive," said Oliver Risse, CEO of Floatility, a company that focuses on developing solutions for short distance travel in urban settings.

With the help of BASF, Floatility created the e-floater, a sleek, solar-powered scooter made of plastic materials including the new lightweight material Ultracom™.

BASF launched Ultracom in 2013 at the world's No. 1 trade fair for plastics and rubber, the K Trade Fair. It was also used in Concept 1865 - an electric prototype bicycle that BASF and design agency DING3000 created by looking more holistically at transportation and urban mobility.

Seeing Concept 1865, Risse was inspired by the versatile use of plastics and approached BASF.

Aiming to develop something that is lighter weight than similar vehicles on the market, 80 percent of the e-Floater is composed of composites and plastics - showcasing the ease, convenience and durability that advanced plastics creates for designers.

Floatility's new lightweight and solar powered electric scooter, a boost to sustainable urban mobility.

"The difference between e-bike sharing is that a bicycle is a stationary approach - getting you from your home to a station," said Risse. "Instead, we want to be a floating company, where you can pick the e-floater up wherever you see it and drop it wherever you want, making it convenient and easily accessible."

Unlike bikes, the e-floater can be easily transported to the demand peaks inside or outside the urban centers depending on the time of the day.

Similar to urban bike sharing, Floatility plans to test their idea of a shared economy - this time with hundreds of lightweight electric scooters available for short trips around the two test cities, Singapore in the hot and humid climate of South East Asia and Hamburg in comparatively colder Northern Germany.

"The most important factor is the shared economy," Risse said. "Our business model is not to sell a single product but to sell a network of solutions."