• Jul 12th 2009 at 12:03PM
  • 18
Bamboo Taxi - Click above for a high-res image gallery

Increasing powertrain efficiency is just one area in which vehicles' environmental impact can be lessened. A significant portion of the total energy used to operate the vehicle over its lifetime comes from sourcing and processing raw materials into individual vehicle components, as well as transporting finished vehicles to their end customers.

With this in mind, new taxis based on renewable materials are being built and used on Gilligan's Island in the Filipino town of Tabontabon. The bodywork is made entirely from bamboo -- a grass which, in addition to being strong and lightweight, grows back after it's harvested. Don't expect to see this on the list of IIHS Top Safety Picks anytime soon, but as a low-speed vehicle for use in rural areas, it's an interesting alternative. Even the fuel is renewable, as the engines in these vehicles are powered by coconut oil-based biodiesel. Plus, if you're lucky, maybe you'll be able to split a fare with Ginger or Mary Ann on the way to the Professor's hut.

[Source: Fast Company]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is awesome. And if you ever run out of fuel, you can throw parts of the car into the boiler and keep going!! :)

      But seriously, a cool idea.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is actually a really neat idea. You would need to have flame retardant chemicals with the bamboo and the crash impact safety would be... but if you're looking at a rural area with lots of rutted roads and limited transport, this would likely work well.

      Looks like you could transport 8 to 10 folks in it and the operating costs are likely in the low single digits. It would be interesting to find out how this type of project works out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      that's Filipino ingenuity, for you! proudly pinoy pre!

      on the contrary, most road surfaces on rural areas are really non-existent, some (but not all) are cemented/paved but those are just major thoroughfares. so these taxis don't really need to go very fast.

      fyi the frame is made from bamboo but the weaved cover is made from rattan - a kin to coconut fronds. (we call them banig, or sawali, very durable and versatile) which is also used as anything from sleeping mats, walls for huts, even dresses.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Jeez you guys! How can you think about cars when someone mentions Mary-Ann. Only real men pick Mary Ann, the poseurs picked Ginger. Now what were you writing about earlier?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't knock it. We're going to have to comply with CAFE & CARB somehow.
        • 6 Years Ago

        Unfortunately, it's not just CARB and CAFE we have to comply with. There's also IIHS. :(

        I actually want to take a ride in one of these things. I would imagine it doesn't rattle at all over bumps. More of a "rustling" sound...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Imagine your hemp construction 'island transport' goes up in 'smoke', can the local constabulary fine you for driving under the influence? Gilligan!!!!!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Environmentally friendy huh? Many people forget you should take everything into account. In other words, nice chrome mirror.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thats Unbeweaveable
      • 6 Years Ago
      that's what they call a full-size rickshaw
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Don't expect to see this on the list of IIHS Top Safety Picks anytime soon..."

        Should be a top pick for..."Most Combustible" list.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Those are jeepneys, you hick.
        • 6 Years Ago
        David buddy, where's your humor switch at.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "The bodywork is made entirely from bamboo -- a grass which, in addition to being strong and lightweight, grows back after it's harvested..."

        It's so green....it's envious.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Who needs recyclable materials like aluminum and steel. Just build them out of biodegradable bamboo.

      Put them up on blocks in the backyard long enough and the eyesore goes away naturally.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah, but what's its 'Ring time?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Not just any chrome wing mirrors, but chrome BMW M3 wing mirrors.
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