Auto makers are constantly on the hunt for lighter, stronger material to build cars out of, because the lighter the vehicle, the less energy it takes to make it move. Some solve the weight problem by making tiny one-seater cars, and others opt for completely green pedal-power. Now EV-tinkerer Greg Abbott — also known as Reverend Gadget — is working on a new idea: bamboo.
The resilient, lightweight grass has been used in Asia for thousands of years, for everything from construction scaffolding to musical instruments. More recently, surfboards made from woven bamboo composite have been making waves in Hawaii, and that got Abbott thinking. Instead of fiberglass, which is strong but heavy, or carbon fiber, which is strong but expensive, could cars be constructed out of bamboo composite and vegetable resin?
It's still just an idea right now, but with its high strength-to-width ratio, highly renewable quick-growing bamboo is an appealing construction material. The light weight and high strength of bamboo could compensate for the heavier battery packs needed for electric vehicles, and let manufacturers squeeze more miles out of the eco-friendly cars.
[Image credit: Nancy "Annie" JonesFrancis]
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