RAIOOO is an unique electric wooden tricycle designed by MA Integrated Design students of Viana do Castelo Polytechnic in Portugal with the intention of creating a sustainable means of transport for those who love to pedal. The name RAIOOO is derived from a combination of the word RAI (spokes) and OOO, which stands for the three wheels. It is a vehicle driven by reflections on the world of mobility and its designers believe that an inclusive society must promote a new concept of urban cycling in social groups, normally excluded from it.
The bike is designed using a mix of uncommon biking materials such as wood, leather and cork combined with traditional materials like aluminium, eco-friendly plastic and mechanical components to create a hybrid but sustainable and local product.
The aluminium components of the gears and seat/pedal tubing are produced on an industrial scale but the leather bags are made by local craftspeople; the parts in agglomerated cork and the plywood panels forming the tricycle’s seat and frame are shaped by CNC machines and the mudguard brackets and covering over the are made with 3D printers in the Polytechnic’s digital fabrication lab.
The base structure of the tricycle is formed of two plywood panels sandwiched together and bolted to the steering box and seat-pedal tubing, both in aluminium. The casing extends to the rear-wheel axle and this shell contains the batteries and controller; all the wires and cables also pass through here. The two panels are then closed with shaped strips of agglomerated cork. The front fork and elegant curvilinear handlebars are made of thin sheets of woods such as beech, mahogany, eucalyptus and sucupira. The rear has a block of two wheels with a differential gear for motor traction.
The tricycle is completed with a number of accessories, including a rear basket in wood, plywood and leather and two front leather bags that fit one inside the other. The smaller one holds an emergency tool kit and the larger one can easily be detached to carry small objects.
While the experimental design is still in it’s prototype stage, the designers intend to take it to the next level which will involve further development, an updated concept of mobility better suited to today’s urban needs.
Photography by Joana Ferreira