Bark & Spark: Chinese Carpenter Crafts Wooden Electric Car

A carpenter from Shenyang, China named Liu Fulong wasn't fooling around when he built his first wooden electric car. Now he's back with an improved version of his innovative and environmentally-friendly vehicle that just might be the best wooden electric car on his – or any – block.

Liu has spent 30 of his 48 years as a carpenter, gradually honing his wood-working skills with every project. As far as auto mechanics go, however, he's pretty much self-taught and that's saying something since Liu never advanced beyond primary school.

In August of 2014, Liu decided he'd build an electric car and, using wood for the body and frame, had a roadworthy model ready in just three months! Liu's wooden wonder was a pure EV whose motor ran off an onboard battery. On a full charge, Liu could drive up to 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) at speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour (18.65 mph). Naturally, highway driving was out of the question.

Seemingly unsatisfied or merely eager to build upon his success, the crafty Shenyang handyman decided to build a bigger and better electric car... from wood, of course. One might think combining electricity and wood isn't the safest of practices but (a) wood is non-conductive and (b) Liu's a carpenter whose first organic EV neither flamed out nor flamed up. Dude knows his stuff and, like Kenny Rogers, believes it's the wood that makes it good.

Fast-forward to the end of December and Liu's innovative chip off the old block just rolled off his single-vehicle production line. Viewed side by side, it's obvious Model B is more robust – not to mention its fresh coat of varnish gives the bodywork a richer, warmer glow.

The upgraded green EV does share some design cues with its progenitor including slatted cut-down doors, quad trumpet horns and what appears to be a “thumbs-up” hood ornament. Ever the optimist, that Liu!

The new, larger vehicle is heavier but it's also more powerful: though the range is the same, the top speed has risen to over 50kph or 31 mph. Still not quite freeway-ready but one must admit, progress is being made.

Will Liu continue to build wooden electric cars as time goes by? The crafty carpenter isn't saying but recent publicity will likely lead to public demand... someday he may have to open a branch office. (via Shanghaiist, China Daily, and THAT'S