The bicycle made from recycled cardboard is a real thing: Inventor Izhar Gafni grabbed headlines last year for riding the prototype, and describing how he made folded cardboard “like origami” into a material as strong as carbon fiber.
But another important component of those news stories was the product’s price. Gafni’s business partner Nimrod Elmish told Reuters last October that they would be available within a year, and could be priced at $20 at a profit, thanks to cheap raw material of old cardboard, plastic bottles and car tires estimated at only $9 to $12. The low prices helped justify a pitch for the developing world: “the potential to change transportation habits from the world’s most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa.”
Yet from their just-launched crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, it appears a world of cheap cardboard bikes will take much more time and much more money than previously suggested. The estimated delivery date for the bikes is March 2015, and only in the U.S. and Europe. The price is a more-than-tenfold leap from that oft-quoted $20: $290, including $40 for shipping and handling.
it’s crucial that we get this production plant up and running ASAP. We need to begin mass production that will not only get the bike to all the places it needs to go in the world, but it will allow us to bring the production costs down dramatically. The prices we have listed in the campaign are intended to help us reach that goal, so everyone who buys one will be a part of the community that helped establish it
If they reach their eye-popping goal of $2,000,000 they will set an Indiegogo record, and will presumably be able to fund some of their more farfetched cardboard dreams. As Elmish told an audience at Microsoft Next: “We believe that within 10 years, parts made out of recycled material like this will be flying to the moon and outer space.”