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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Are electric cars green? The cars might be steel, plastic, rubber, paint, fabric and much of it is made from petroleum. The lighter the car, the better to make a little bit of energy go a long way and so, carbon fiber is being used more and more. Even thou carbon fiber may be recycled to some extent, it is not very green. Heavy steel might be more easily and more completely recycled than most materials. What is green, very green, grows on trees or, is a tree? Bamboo is such a material and, you might think that I am just joking but, people are starting to build cars with bamboo. I have even seen a battery in a bamboo case. Bamboo is renewable, light, strong, and biodegradable. The challenge will be to find new ways to process and use bamboo. Can we make something that can be put into a mold under pressure and still make it non toxic and biodegradable? Most things that are recyclable are not recycled. Plastic bottles are a good example of how materials that should be recycled end up in a landfill, or in the ocean. Recycling can produce hazardous waste, use energy, cause pollution and cost far more over what manufacturing new materials would. However, none of these concerns will come first. Most people will buy what is affordable first and what is green second. My next stop will be to talk to a wood technologist to see if bamboo can be crafted into a sleek sports car body or, chassis. Anyone think it can be done?
 

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Wood bodies were quite common in cars at one time, from the earliest 'coachbuilt' one off models right up to the frame for Morgan sports cars (possibly still current). They were even celebrated in song, by the Beach Boys. 'Surfin' Safari'.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Electric Morgan's are in the pipeline.
The three wheeler is here and now.
Yes, and there was also the 2011 Rinspeed BamBoo, electric vehicle. Other natural materials have been used in the construction of modern day cars. Hemp fiber is strong and can be mixed with resin to produce panels of any shape. Certain grasses have been used also. However, tires are another matter; when they make edible tires made of licorice, then I will know they have gone too far.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Aluminium is fully recyclable.
Yes it is. I believe that aluminum is the best material for stamping out affordable, lightweight, mass produced cars and trucks. There are already some pickup trucks with aluminum chassis and hoods.
 

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Anything can be made green. It's the cost to do so which can make it a backwards step. The less energy intensive the processes involved, the greener it usually is - even if it's made from oil based products. Bamboo has some great properties but also some very bad ones for full production. Getting exact quality is hit and miss, processing it is tooling-intensive (unless it's water or laser cut which uses loads of energy anyway), growing it in volume for cars would mean massive areas of land taken up to support it rather than food or forrests, etc.

In certain parts of cars it's a great idea but as something to construct a chassis from it's not great.
Ash has been used by Morgan since the year dot. It seems to work very well but have you seen how labour intensive the process is? I'm sure that could be streamlined a bit but it's still going to take a lot more effort than stamping metal from a mould and it doesn't offer the weight/strength that carbon or cfrp can which then hurts economy, space use, etc.

It's all a big balancing act and I think the best thing at the moment is to use the best material for each job - maybe bamboo for trim, aluminium for structure and cfrp for light panels.
 
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