Bamboo is a great sustainable fiber which can be used for just about anything. We're talking about underwear, laptops, car door interiors, and car exterior body panels... okay, wait just a darn minute here. If the above video of the "BamGoo" car designed from the students at Kyoto University is anything of what we can expect to see from a bamboo reinforced vehicle exterior, then count me out!The BamGoo
The 130 pound, one seat, electric vehicle is made almost "entirely from bamboo," as the tabloids boast. Yes, if you ignore the obvious signs of aluminum and rubber scattered about, this indeed gives you an idea of what a sustainable bamboo car would be like. In actuality though, bamboo in-and-of-itself could most likely never be used entirely for a vehicle, it would just not be strong enough.
Its fibers would need to be mixed with some sort of resin to give it the rigidity and structural stability of say, carbon fiber or a fiberglass resin. While this car has been the butt of quite a few jokes as of lately, it is actually a great reminder of how natural fibers can be used in place of synthetics during the manufacturing of certain vehicular components.
The Future of Sustainable Vehicles
Currently, researchers are looking at hemp, bamboo, and coconut fiber as the core structural component of interior grade plastics. However, presenting such sustainable fibers on the exterior shell of a vehicle will be but a few years into the future. There are a lot of cool ideas on the table (such as using glass), but safety remains the primary obstacle when considering such innovative design possibilities.