Cake's sustainable electric motorcycles could be made from paper, not plastic

The Swedish company teamed up with PaperShell to design an electric motorcycle that subs out plastic for a robust fiber composite.

It sounds great on paper; Swedish electric motorcycle maker Cake is partnering with PaperShell to make an electric motorcycle that replaces as many plastic components as it can with paper. We’re not talking about flimsy paper bags here, PaperShell’s material is more akin to an artificial wood that’s strong, weather resistant, and above all, more environmentally friendly.

Stefan Ytterborn, founder and CEO of Cake, said in the press release that they’re trying to find a material that can “minimize or even eradicate the use of conventional plastics in our motorcycles.”


The company has recently been putting out electric motorcycles with innovative design, like its Makka Work model that also functions as a workbench. Cake is so serious about the environment that they even made a silent e-motorcycle purposely designed to sneak up on and catch poachers in South Africa. Sustainability is baked into the company’s philosophy and Ytterborn said that he founded Cake to help move towards a zero-emission society.

Stronger than actual wood — Finding a more sustainable material to build their electric motorcycles was a fitting next step for Cake, leading them to work with PaperShell. PaperShell was founded in 2021 and its signature material is an artificially engineered wood.


The company’s “natural fiber composite” is made out of 100 percent cellulose and combines the strength of fiber composites with the resistance of plastic. According to PaperShell, its material is actually stronger and denser than actual wood, and lighter but just as strong as some metals. PaperShell is hoping to replace wood, plastic, fiber composites and even metal sheets with its artificial wood in whatever it can.


In terms of footprint, PaperShell’s material only produces 0.65 kg CO2-eq, which is much lower compared to polypropylene and its 4.95 kg CO2-eq, and fiberglass and its 25.05kg CO2-eq.

So long, plastic — The process for Cake and PaperShell is likely to take a few years, so we won’t see a paper-made electric motorcycle on the market for a while, but their initiative could definitely make some waves for the auto industry as a whole, since sustainability is a bigger priority than ever.

At the very least, their efforts should set a precedent for the industry to look towards much more sustainable materials. Whether or not Cake’s electric motorcycle made with PaperShell catches on is yet to be seen, but we may all be looking at paper much differently in the future.