We built our own electric car… out of wood!
That’s right – the photos you see on this page are of almost certainly the first and only wooden, electrically-powered car on the planet. We’re very confident it won’t be the last.
With great support from Welsh Government, we made this car from the ground up, with our own designs and material choices rejecting vehicular tradition wherever we found it to be inefficient or vestigial.
Why did we do this? Imagine a world where the environmental impact of cars was massively reduced. Mining the ore, smelting the metal, shaping and extruding it, assembling it… the process of making a car requires as much energy as is used in running said vehicle for five or six years. To us, that’s simply unsustainable.
Wood comes from trees. Trees reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, they’re sustainable and – if demand is there – they can be properly forested and controlled. The energy used to make a wooden car is 10% of that for its steel/aluminium equivalent, and at the end of its life there are no energy costs to recycling – it actually creates energy when burned.
We feel that Wales could be the perfect home for this vehicular revolution, with its wide open spaced just waiting for forestation, improving our environment and cleaning our air while drastically boosting the economy.
So let’s get down to business and find out more about the vehicle itself. The as-yet unnamed car was created without any heritage to hold us back – things like 4-wheel designs, combustion engines, steering wheels, dampers and dashboards are simply not needed in our modern age:
Electric power, three wheels.
No fossil fuel burning here. We specialise in designing electric motors and energy storage systems that are beyond the cutting edge of the industry, and our own car is no exception. We mount the batteries way back in the vehicle, which is driven by the two rear wheels. With careful torque modulation these wheels accelerate and brake the vehicle, as well as steer it and control the stiffness of its active suspension (we don’t use energy-wasting dampers).
Wood, not metal.
The Western Red Cedar we use is extremely durable and has the same strength : weight ratio as aluminium. The chassis is made of wood, the roof is made of wood, the seats are made of wood, the switchgear is made of wood…
Central control joystick.
Central mounting means the car is ready to go for both RHD or LHD, drastically reducing manufacturing costs for global audiences. Our joystick doesn’t actually move, instead reacting to pressure applied by the driver to accelerate, brake and steer with pure intuition. No steering column means less risk in a crash, too.
We use colour-coding to tell the driver how fast they’re going. It works in the peripheral vision so the driver needn’t look away from the road, and our colour zone pulses to show when you’re getting close to the speed limit.
Our three-wheel design allows for more precise steering. Our vehicle is designed to NCAP standards (and the same roll-over standards used in the USA) and doesn’t feature a steering column which could injure drivers in an accident.
The central display visual shows images from rear-facing cameras, so there’s simply no need for the driver to keep turning their head to look in old-fashioned mirrors.
And the important thing to remember is that this car was made from the ground up in just two years by a dedicated team of six scientists and engineers.
So far only a short proof-of-concept test run has been undertaken. Look out for an updated on our planned full testing soon…