Bamboo and Rattan Electric Car Wows in Milan

Filipino furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue presented an ultra-lightweight car design last week that takes the use of renewable materials to a whole new level.  Using bamboo and rattan, Cobonpue feels that the project – called “Pheonix” – perfectly embodies “this era’s thrust towards artisanship and craftsmanship, biodegradability and environment-friendliness, as opposed to assembly-line production and high technology – the contrast between man’s handiwork and machine.”

The Pheonix was unveiled at last month’s the “Imagination and Innovation” exhibit in Via Tortona in Milan, where the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that it was met with rave reviews.

Cobonpue explains that “it’s a challenge (to design a car).  When you think about it, car building has been all about high technology, robots. But maybe you don’t need all that. It can be handmade. Cars outlive their purpose.  How long do you keep a car?  Five years or a little more?  Then it goes to the junkyard.  It is not environment-friendly. The cost of recycling (a car) is prohibitive.  So why not build from a biodegradable material, the shell you can replace?”

We’ve made the claim that the greenest car out there is one that’s already been built, but if you extend that out 20 or 30 years, something made of wicker and rattan may have it beat.  What do you think, readers?  Re-use and re-cycle what we’ve got, or start fresh with slick little bio-pods like the Pheonix?

Source:  Philippine Daily Inquirer, via

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.