Submitted: The Two Sides Team January 30, 2014
Finish pulp & paper company UPM has built a street-legal car, completely from wood!
January 27, 2014
Remember the old Woodie cars of the 1940s and '50s, like Ford's Country Squire or Chrysler's Town & Country? Finnish pulp & paper company UPM-Kymmene Oyj is going retro and attempting to bring back that trend.
The company has announced it has built a street-legal car completely from wood: introducing the Biofore Concept Car.
The frame of the concept is composed of tree pulp and plywood, and the article boasts that the car is even fuelled by bark, stumps and branches. Apparently it uses a modified Volkswagen Polo engine, tuned to use UPM's BioVerno fuel, which is a new, wood-based renewable diesel made 100% outside the food value chain.
The vehicle's first test drive was conducted during an August rainstorm, in an effort to eliminate concerns that a wood car can't handle exposure to water.
Approximately 50 technicians have poured over 30,000 hours into the car, but unfortunately, they're not ready to show it to us just yet.
UPM's president Juuso Konttinen tells Bloomberg News that "The world of sustainable development isn't something that's chosen; it'll come."
Traditionally, lumber has proven difficult to use in manufacturing, because of its natural abnormalities, such as knots. Moreover, metal stamping machines cannot also handle wood materials, so existing factories would have to be re-equipped and re-tooled.
But UPM, in partnership with Finland's Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, claims to have created a sustainable manufacturing method that opens up a number of potentially eco-friendly options for the auto industry.
We do know that its design was inspired by a pine cone, but UPM-Kymmene says they're waiting until March to debut their creation at the Geneva Auto Show.
"From the very beginning we have aimed to showcase the car in Geneva. In fact, we have phased the project accordingly. The car has recently been painted and we are proceeding well with the interior," states Pekka Hautala, Technology Manager from Metropolia.
Until then, the car will be kept concealed.