Editor’s note: everyone at The Vintagent was thrilled at the first sight of the STILRIDE scooter, as its creative monocoque chassis seemed a worthy inheritor to the iconic Vespa design of aeronautical engineer Corradino D’Ascanio from 1946.  Then we learned the STILRIDE’s chassis was made of robotically folded steel, and that the scooter was essentially a demonstration project for a new manufacturing technology called STILFOLD, which is deeply impressive.  How many vehicle manufacturers have as their core intention a revolutionary option for more efficient production combined with radical design possibilities?  It’s as if Luigi Colani (see the notes from our Silver Shotgun exhibit) had a new production technology to back up his futuristic design sensibility.  Read Stephanie Weaver’s interview below:

From any angle, the STILRIDE scooter is unique and fascinating. Could this be the future of vehicle manufacturing? [STILRIDE]
Industrial engineer Tue Beijer has twin obsessions: sustainability and vintage scooters. Before building his impressive resume, which includes working with iconic Ferrari 250 GTO designer Giotto Bizzarrini, Husqvarna, and BMW, Beijer designed his first electric scooter in 1993. Unfortunately, there was hardly a demand for eco-friendly vehicles back then. It took another 27 years, until 2020, that Beijer’s dreams finally came to fruition, when he launched STILRIDE with his childhood friend, Jonas Lindberg Nyvang. STILRIDE was founded with Beijer’s and Nyvang’s shared vision of creating a sustainable heir to the Italian scooter heritage they both love. During dinner one night, Beijer started folding a napkin as the pair brainstormed how to develop such a bike. After considerable development, the end result is the STILRIDE SUS1, a retro-futuristic e-scooter created via “industrial origami.”

Sheet steel origami: the STILRIDE chassis is not cast aluminum, as it might appear, but several pieces of folded steel, welded together robotically. [STILRIDE]
Like the Japanese art of folding paper, STILRIDE’s patented curve folding STILFOLD technology uses robotics, CNC machining, and lasers to fold flat sheets of steel into three-dimensional shapes. By combining intelligent software modeling with robotic manufacture, the STILRIDE monocoque chassis uses 70% fewer components and has 25% lower labor costs compared to other manufacturing processes. This means the company can develop low-cost, high-quality scooters with less environmental impact. “Unlike the tubular frames on traditional scooters, the SUS1’s chassis is made with seven folded sheets of flat steel. It creates this form-follows-function design language that adds to the bike’s unique aesthetics. The chassis is also incredibly light, ultra-strong, and easy to make,” Cameron Crisman, Director of International Business Development and Growth at STILRIDE, explained. “The SUS1 is a Trojan Horse to showcase STILRIDE’s technology. It demonstrates what we can do.”  Their ‘computational robotic technology’ can be applied to any metal designs, from cars and trucks to furniture and even architecture (check the ‘what if’ video on the STILFOLD site).

A conceptual re-imagining of Stockholm’s Golden Bridge as an example of the potential for STILFOLD technology. [STILRIDE]
After inventing their chassis, the startup worked with Stockholm-based bespoke brake-system company ISR to create a proprietary braking system for the SUS1. STILRIDE is also currently developing an intelligent integrations system in-house. This will allow a user to start the scooter and monitor the battery capacity from their smartphone. The SUS1 is outfitted with a hub motor on the rear wheel, and the low center of gravity provides a stable and easy ride. It can reach top speeds of 100km/h (62mph), has a range of 120km (75 miles), and churns out 8kW (11hp). The SUS1 is also very comfortable: “The battery, swingarm, and motor are all in a monocoque casing. This slides directly into the chassis, making the SUS1 incredibly rigid. It doesn’t have a lot of vibrations. The swingarm sits low and back, better absorbing bumps for a smoother ride,” Crisman said.

A radical evolution in production technology implies radical changes in design possibilities. [STILRIDE]
While STILRIDE currently manufactures its scooters on-site in Stockholm, the company plans to use its software—which can be shared digitally​​—to open remote manufacturing cells in targeted locations worldwide.  Think IKEA meets robotics: flat-pack steel sheets can be shipped anywhere on the planet for local shaping using downloadable software, which supports local economies and significantly reduces the carbon emissions from shipping finished vehicles. STILRIDE is already expanding its reach into other areas of the mobility industry, and is currently collaborating with Polestar to develop a carbon-neutral automotive chassis to the market by 2030. “Our ambition is to help other manufacturers make their vehicles using STILFOLD,” Crisman said. For now, the company is focused on the SUS1’s upcoming release. The STILRIDE SUS1 will go on sale this spring, with an estimated delivery slated for spring 2024.

The monocoque STILRIDE chassis is mated to a unitary swingarm/motor unit, much like a Vespa. [STILRIDE]


Stephanie Weaver is the EV Editor at The Vintagent, and a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. When she’s not locked to her laptop, she can be found riding horses and motorcycles.
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