According to a recent statement from the United Nations, the rapid acceleration of global warming demands immediate action. In order to slow the rising temperatures and sea levels, global CO2 emissions need to drop at a significant rate. This demands substantially reducing fossil fuel consumption, improving infrastructure, and creating sustainable methods for travel.
While the need for greener cities intimidates many, Mexico City engineer Juanjo Villegas wants to prove that it doesn't have to be difficult. His recent work was inspired by concerns about increasing traffic and pollution in his immediate environment, as well as the carbon footprint of package deliveries. Villegas hoped to tackle this problem in his Master's thesis at CENTRO's business school by brainstorming how to make inner city travel more sustainable, affordable, and efficient.
The final product was Plastic Ride, a compact electric scooter made of recycled plastic from the automotive industry. This lightweight, affordable vehicle is fast, safe, and folds into itself for easy portability or stowage. Plastic Ride is a versatile scooter perfect for personal or commercial use, with a durable frame that can hold up to 320 kilograms (approximately 705 pounds). The scooter consists of only its most essential parts, so it's low-waste and doesn't require expensive maintenance. Villegas and his team can build five scooters out of the plastic from one car, and it takes only three minutes to make each unit. This simple, streamlined production process is easily scalable, so any interested city could obtain several scooters in a short period of time.
As a cake mold manufacturer, Villegas already had experience using recycled automotive plastics like Nylon 66 and polyamide in his work. He already had plenty of experience creating plastic injection molds and was easily able to access the materials necessary to make the scooters. Villegas wanted to make Plastic Ride as safe and sustainable as possible, so he avoids using toxic paint, welding machines, or raw materials. Since plastic takes hundreds of years to disintegrate, Villegas wants to serve as an example of how it can be easily recycled in a way that benefits large cities.
"We want to show the world that we can reuse plastic and integrate it into society," Villegas said in a statement.
Plastic Ride can be used for last-mile transportation or even cargo delivery
Plastic Ride itself is also easily recycled, and Villegas hopes to create circularity in his process by using old scooters to build newer models. His goal is to expand Plastic Ride's reach far enough to reduce traffic, improve air quality, and contribute to the push for greener cities around the world. Plastic Ride's innovative design proves that sustainable alternatives to high-emission transportation can be cost-effective, highly scalable, and easily accessible to individuals, cities, and companies.