Well, they've got plenty of balsa wood, so that's a start. Costa Rica-based inventor Jesse Blenn is spreading the word of what he says will be the first car designed and built in the country, and it will have an electrified powertrain of some sort, the Tico Times reports.

CambYoCar, the brainchild of the ex-airline mechanic, will be relatively inexpensive because it will be made out of a combination of balsa wood and aluminum, keeping the price in the $18,000 range and the vehicle light. A svelte body is always good for hybrids or electric vehicles even those that (in mini prototype form, at least) look a bit like a scrunched up DeLorean.

Costa Rican officials love the idea of a locally made, cheap hybrid or electric vehicle because of their goal to make the nation carbon-neutral – and the fact that many of the cars there are decades old and of the smoke-spewing variety. Until now, Costa Rica hasn't shown much interest in advanced-powertrain vehicles. Of the approximately 80,000 new and used vehicles (with a 50/50 split) imported to the country each year, just 40 or so are hybrids. Undaunted, Blenn has earmarked an old guava jelly plant for the car's production. There's a joke in there somewhere.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      archos
      • 1 Year Ago
      Even the wheels look like they're cardboard.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @archos
        Actually they are hardware store industrial wheels with steel rims and gray foam circle covers colored with markers, not quite cardboard. Remember this is a model! The doors will open with gas struts and close electrically. We are SO tired of getting soaked getting in and out of cars made for icy climates where they would be too heavy with ice to open up.
        danfred411
        • 1 Year Ago
        @archos
        It's a scale model..
      SublimeKnight
      • 1 Year Ago
      What is this? A car for ants? How can we expect people to experience EVs if they can't even fit into them? This car has to be at least 3x bigger than this!
      SublimeKnight
      • 1 Year Ago
      "...will be relatively inexpensive because it will be made out of a combination of balsa wood and aluminum" That sounds safe.
        Thereminator
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        Maybe it will float...in a torrential down pour!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SublimeKnight
        You are right it is safe. That aluminum and balsa is designed for 40 g frontal crashes with over two feet of designated sacrificial crush space, and there is a ring of 2 x 2 inch steel tubing surrounding the passengers.
      danfred411
      • 1 Year Ago
      Meh, why not. I would suggest some aerodynamics but it's not like anyone has the intelligence to listen to reason.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nearly perfect weather out there... very little need for a car.
        Thereminator
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Except for the rainy season...especially on the Caribbean side!
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      No.
      Rick Danger
      • 1 Year Ago
      The CumByYa car. Priceless.
      EZEE2
      • 1 Year Ago
      What's with the boo birds here? Honda started my making bicycles and motorbikes, after ww2. Look where they are now. I say good luck to Costa Rica, their efforts, and anything along these lines they try. Sounds like a pretty cool little country.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE2
        @ EZEE2 Yeah, I love Costa Rica, and Costa Rican's. Despite being sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica is a very happy stable little democracy, with a growing (though sill poor ) economy. Costa Rica managed to avoid most of the oppressiveness of the United Fruit Companies behaviour, and conflict with the US. The abolition of the Costa Rican Armed Forces, in favour of an 'army of teachers' in 1949, has given Costa Rica the highest literary rate in Central America. Even today, Costa Rica enjoy a relatively low crime rate, and is attracting hi-tech company investment and employment opportunities. But Eco-tourism is where Costa Rica excels. For US tourists, Costa Rica offers a great vacation experience.
      EZEE2
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thank you! You always have more detail than I. I am more of a 'Big Picture' guy. :) There is also a good amount of American retiree travel to Costa Rica due to tax rules and other favorable items, if I am correct.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thanks Danny for the nice article. Actually I did mostly restorations of small planes. End-grain balsa sandwich has been used in over 3 million boats, and is still used for commercial aircraft flooring because it works. Neither you nor the ants will see the balsa. The great advantage is that by forming it by hand (at first) on simple molds there is very little investment in machinery. Trim will be locally grown teak wood. The model is 1/6th scale of course with PLENTY of room for 95% adult males. We are to be awarded $130,000 in low interest loans to start early in 2014. A mist in the bucket compared to the big companies but then we are different. The model was made 18 months ago and the design has progressed since then. The aerodynamics are actually pretty good except the shortness at the rear. This is the city and ecotourism (in 4-wheel drive) model, later we will have higher speeds and better aerodynamics. There have now been something like 70 pure electrics sold here, almost all Reva's which sell for almost $20 thousand (Lithium battery version), and something over 300 hybrids - almost all Prius. These go for about $35,000 and 42,000 for the two versions. Cars, old or new, are rather expensive here, that is in our favor. jesseblenn@gmail.com
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      And the BullSh!1 Headline award goes to.... Danny King.
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