This electric bike was designed in Nepal using local bamboo to transport tourists and packages — here's how it works

Habre Eco Bike Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

Designers around the world collaborated on an eco-friendly ebike to be used in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Lance Rake, a professor at the University of Kansas and a professional industrial designer, received a Fulbright scholarship to work on an electric cargo bike in Kathmandu to deliver food and packages while cutting fossil fuel emissions and traffic congestions. Rake then worked with students and faculty at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia to create the design. Rake has worked with bamboo as a primary material before, including on a bikeshare project in Mumbai, and a bamboo paddle longboard.

Finally, in Nepal he worked with architect Nripal Adhikari and his architecture firm, Abari, plus students from the University of Kathmandu. Abari specializes in projects using local bamboo to make strong and sustainable designs, like a bamboo water tank and plans for rural housing.  The Habre Eco Bike, also made from bamboo, gets its name from the Nepali word for red panda, animals native to the area.

After testing and finalizing the ebike design, local craftspeople in Kathmandu made the finished product, which debuted this year. Here's how it works. 

 

The goal was to make a vehicle that could ease pollution and congestion in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

Rake, Abari, and students from Kathmandu University went through several iterations of the design.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

Prototypes were built and tested.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

The final product had to be useful both on city streets and rural roads.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

It also had to be efficient for food and package deliveries...

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

...while comfortable enough to transport tourists around the city.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

The final design has three wheels.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

It sits on a steel frame.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

Using locally available bamboo made the bike more eco-friendly.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

As the design progressed, designers experimented with using as little steel as possible to maximize local resources and reduce costs.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

Source: Design Boom

The design is adaptable, and the suspension can be adjusted for local conditions.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

They based the design off of a delivery bike that already existed.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

The bike is electrically powered, so it can transport more weight with less effort than a traditional bike.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

In January, designers presented the eco bike in Kathmandu to city officials and local business people.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon

Since then, Kathmandu traffic police have become stakeholders in the project.

Habre Eco Bike
Habre Eco Bike.
Lance Gordon
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