Birò O2: this Italian electric car is made from recycled plastics.

Birò O2 electric car

If you care about sustainability and electric mobility, you might have already heard the name Birò O2. This brand new model is just the latest in a long line of sustainable products designed by Italian brands, and it is making waves in the automotive industry. A joint project by Italian carmaker Estrima and Milan-based design studio Mandalaki, the Birò O2 is taking the European market by storm. Cheaper than other fully-electric vehicles, this undeniably cute two-seater is designed for urban mobility and it can cover a distance of 100 Km on a single charge, with a top speed of 65 Kmph. Incredibly, none of the above is the Birò O2’s most innovative characteristic. Mandalaki and Estrima managed to go the proverbial extra mile.

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Sustainable, from start to finish

What really sets the BiròO2 apart from its (admittedly few) competitors is the fact that 80% of the parts used in assembling each vehicle are made from recycled plastics. This impacts both sustainability and price. On the one hand, it points at a way of ridding the world of its overabundance of plastic waste, on the other, it reduces the overall production costs, by using materials that are cheaper on the market than new plastics or metals. Mandalaki and Estrima also stated that they are working on ways of using recycled plastics even for the parts that are currently produced with new ones, such as the steering wheel. They are planning the release of a vehicle made from 100% recycled plastics by 2020.

Community commuter

Smaller than a city car and only slightly larger than the average scooter, the Birò O2 is not only sustainable and affordable, it also solves a number of practical issues that affect drivers in most urban areas. As a zero-emission, silent vehicle, it can drive through traffic-restricted areas and is allowed to park in scooter spaces. Moreover, Estrima created a service that incorporates the concept of car-sharing into the idea of owning a vehicle. Birò Share is an innovative option that allows owners to share their vehicles by authorising their use by others, without handing over their keys and while constantly monitoring the vehicle’s usage. Incidentally, The Birò O2 has dispensed with keys entirely, by introducing a card-based system that controls everything, from doors to ignition.

Easy to charge

Unlike other electric vehicles, the Birò O2 doesn’t need to be parked next to special charging stations in order for its battery to be re-charged. In fact, the battery can be easily removed and transported, in order to be charged at home, using a normal plug. It is then easily re-installed and ready for use. This makes it particularly convenient for commuters who need to cover long distances. Upon reaching the workplace, the driver can take out the battery and re-charge it, thus making sure it covers the whole drive home.

Birò O2 and our sustainable future

No individual, no brand and no business can afford to ignore the consequences of climate change and excess waste any longer. If the direst predictions are to be believed, incremental changes might not be enough to reverse our impact on the planet. This calls for far more dramatic, global changes to our economy and our lifestyle. One of the major problems we will be facing over the next decade is the need to reduce plastic waste and stop it from ending up in our oceans and polluting natural ecosystems. What better way of doing that than turning worthless waste into valuable raw materials for a multi-billion industry such as car manufacturing? The Birò O2 is breaking new ground possibly foreshadowing a better future for our planet.

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She is a part-time digital nomad. She would go full-time, if only she could stay away from Berlin for long enough without pining for a Pretzel. She was born in Italy and she enjoys life as an expat, but visits home often enough and can still remember how to bake a perfect lasagna. She is passionate about writing, marketing, languages and the systematic demolition of cultural stereotypes.

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