World’s First Biodegradable Car: Kenneth Cobonpue’s Phoenix Roadster

by , 04/13/11

Kenneth Cobonpue, Phoenix, rattan car, bamboo car, biodegradable car, sustainable transportation, green transportation, green automotive design

You are looking at the world’s first bamboo and rattan roadster, a biodegradable car called the Phoenix. The Phoenix was created by product designers Kenneth Cobonpue and Albrecht Birkner and was built in just 10 days of bamboo, rattan, steel, and nylon. At 153 inches long, it is a small and elegant solution to a big and ugly problem: the waste created by old cars that outlive their purpose. “This project attempts to unveil the future of green vehicles using woven skins from organic fibers mated to composite materials and powered by green technology,” says Mr. Cobonpue. So how does it work?

Kenneth Cobonpue, Phoenix, rattan car, bamboo car, biodegradable car, sustainable transportation, green transportation, green automotive design

The Phoenix’s biodegradable skin is designed to last the average length of time a person keeps a car (5 years in industrialized countries, 10-20 years elsewhere) so that the car doesn’t create unnecessary waste by lasting longer than its owner needs it. The skin can be replaced inexpensively if the owner wishes to keep their car longer, and the Phoenix’s frame can be easily customized for individual customers’ needs. No word yet on exactly what engine or motor will power the green car, but it is small enough that an all-electric setup should provide plenty of juice to move this work of art around town.

+ Kenneth Cobonpue

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  1. Shrestha KN January 29, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    electric motor will be suitable for this one.

  2. bugstomper2 October 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    May as well ride a broomstick, if you are going to drive in that!

  3. udo gangl November 9, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Kenneth is doing pretty cool and very thoughtful work. the basic idea of the car is surely a use within the crowded cities of asia, where you have slow traffic and accidents are limited mostly to scratches and/or so. lots of natural (green) and recycled materials do honor the concept a lot – besides its mere (beautiful) aesthetics…

  4. lyricsandbook April 18, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I’m in agreement with a lot of folks above. If we went back to the founding Volkswagen model of universal parts, and adhered to higher engineering standards like the best of Volvos – then we’d have cars that last for decades and parts that could be recovered even in the case of an accident.. Designing a car that will break down by design seems to be trading one problem for another. Tough cars with recoverable parts and simply eliminating problem plastics seems to be the better path to explore

  5. madflies April 14, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    the first biodegratable cars where made by Henry Ford. He was making cars out of hemp fiber (stronger than steal) in the 30’s, and powering them with hemp oil. (the byproduct was clean breathable air) The reason that hemp (and sister plant) where band was because hemp was putting the rubber, steal, paper industrys out of busniss. If you dont beleave me look it up. Henry Fords cars where written about in popular since (I beleave) in Febuary of 1937, but if you cant find that it is still on line.

  6. AllForTheGreen April 14, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    Biodegradable plastic are a reality.. Just putting that out there.

  7. Georges Lacombe April 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    If they keep repeating this lie may be someone will believe. All cars before 1930 were 100% biodegradable.

  8. JoseG April 13, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    You took the words right out of my mouth, merit. I’d like to see a “real” car built without plastic though. After all, glass and aluminum are the most recyclable materials around. Other metals are also recycled (and bio-degradable; they rust) and the rubber from the tires is reused.

  9. metis April 13, 2011 at 10:49 am

    most early cars frames and body panels were built entirely of wood (and predate plastic) you may be off by ~200 years in the first biodegradable claim.

    the big waste problem with cars recyclability is the plastics, all of the metal is reclaimable, and much of it gets re-used through junk yards, or maintained usage through used car sales, sure the first owner may only have it for 5 years, but subsequent owners will probably keep it on the road for another 20.

    it’s *really* clever, and quite pretty, but it’s not really solving the problem it claims to.

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