Vattenfall and CAKE Use a Giant Cube To Help Us Visualize CO2 Emissions for Producing It

Vattenfall and CAKE have been collaborating since 2021 on the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever project. They aim to produce the first genuinely fossil-free vehicle, the CAKE Kalk OR, by 2025. To better visualize the carbon footprint of the dirt bike’s production, they have hung it inside an 8.6-meter-tall cube.
The Cube 10 photos
Photo: Jakob Ihre
CAKE KalkCAKE KalkCAKE KalkThe CubeBrake discCAKE KalkCAKE KalkHandlebarTire
Vattenfall is one of Europe's largest producers of electricity and heat, and CAKE is a Swedish manufacturer of electric motorcycles. One of CAKE’s products is the Kalk electric motorcycle, and its production currently results in the emission of 1,186 kg CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).

The Kalk is now available in 8 models, some of which are street legal, others racing dedicated; they even have one specially made for rangers operating in wildlife conservation areas. The cheapest model has a base price of €11,000 (same in $ at the time of writing), with a €3,500 increase for the top of the range. It is very practical and has a simple yet stunning design.

Stefan Ytterborn, founder and CEO of CAKE, said, "The popular term fossil free vehicles means greenwash until the entire production has been decarbonized, regardless of the fuel they are running on. In fact, most companies do not know the carbon footprint of their own products. To understand and tackle our own impact, we have measured the emissions from our entire production chain for one CAKE Kalk OR and started to decarbonize every step to a minimum by 2025".

Photo: Jakob Ihre
As Stefan says, even though a company may market its electric products as green and eco-friendly, they do not consider the emissions of making that product. To help us visualize the true impact of industrial production, CAKE and Vattenfall are revealing the volume of carbon emissions of producing the Kalk by hanging it in an 8.6-meter-tall transparent cube. The 1,186 kg CO2e generated in making the bike takes up 637 cubic meters, the exact volume of the cube.

Their mission is to analyze every single component and material that makes up the Kalk and find a fossil-free way of producing it. That's not a simple task. They will get closer to their objective by using other manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and finding alternative suppliers and materials. And the harsh truth is that this process will probably become much more expensive, which is why many companies are refusing to become more eco-friendly.

Annika Ramsköld, Head of Corporate Sustainability at Vattenfall also commented, “Vattenfall works to enable fossil free living within one generation and is dedicated to finding partnerships that inspire and break barriers. This is one such project, where our main contribution is the broad knowledge in fossil free solutions and electrification of industries we have acquired over decades from our own as well as other industries”.

Photo: CAKE
This campaign was done to raise awareness both for the manufacturers and the consumers. Research has shown that 83% percent of all EV owners believe that they are already doing enough for the climate, but they do not think about how much carbon emissions were produced when creating that product. For example, a mid-size electric car produces 25-35 tons of CO2e. And it's not just about EVs; all products we use daily have a significant carbon footprint. For instance, a 46-inch LED television produces 1,334 kg CO2e, or a single kg of beef has a footprint of 60 kg CO2e.

This is a strong statement for both Vattenfall and CAKE, positioning them as the leaders in the route to fossil-free production. EV owners should realize that owning an electric vehicle doesn't mean you're saving the world; the matter is much more complex than that. What's more, let's hope other manufacturers will be inspired by the Cleanest Dirt Bike Ever initiative and try to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint in their production chains.

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About the author: Mircea Mazuru
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Starting out with a motorcycle permit just because he could get one two years earlier than a driver's license, Mircea keeps his passion for bikes (motor or no motor) alive to this day. His lifelong dream is to build his own custom camper van.
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