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Umut: China’s Wooden Electric Vehicle

The environment is popular right now. There is almost no other way to say it, and our current fascination with hybrid cars and the associated technologies is evidence to this fact. Within the last decade the automotive industry has seen a staggering number of innovations and developments in the environmentally-friendly direction, with more and more cars being produce to operate in ways that severely lessen, if not altogether eliminate harmful aspects of transportation like exhaust and emissions. As technology continues to improve by leaps and bounds, it becomes less and less surprising that we’re developing new ways to transport ourselves whilst also enjoying a strong sense of responsibility for environmental protection. It’s never been easier to monitor and offset our transportation and its effect on the environment around us, and China may have out done it all when it comes to these efforts.

Recently they’ve unveiled the Umut — a car that’s comprised entirely of wood. All practicality aside, the Umut is completely hand crafted. Unsurprisingly, this puts the price point at a pretty hefty and solid number. In fact the Umut costs the Chinese equivalent of about $47,000 dollars, which totals to about 300 thousand yuan. This is a very pretty penny to pay for such a car. You might feel ok about shelling out this kind of dough for something that will offset your carbon footprint in such an admittedly major way, but if you’re looking for any kind of high-speed ride, you’re likely to be incredibly disappointed.

A result of its relatively small (but completely emissions-free) electric motor, the Umut only has a top speed of about 60 miles per hour. Sure, it won’t mess up the environment any more than we already have, and sure it’s something of a great novelty item, but how practical is the Umut for the average consumer, anyway. Would anyone buy it?

Quite possibly not. One reason is because the Umut is, well…not exactly what one might call street legal. In fact, the Umut is in essence a golf cart with a few flashy additions. Furthermore, when the process for creating the kinds of batteries and hardware that would power and operate a vehicle like this, the environmental impact is almost completely evened out. The technology that goes into producing technology like electric and hybrid motors uses expensive and hard-to-find rare earth minerals, whose mining process takes a serious toll on the environment and has already rendered large parts of the earth inert.

The Umut raises an interesting question about the difference between actual usability and the lengths to which we’ll go for novelty in the name of environmental protection. If you’re going to drive a car like the Umut, you might need some serious protection from a company like — they can help you find the right policy that offers you the protection you need. Whatever your choice, it’s always important that we keep in mind our impacts on the environment, and do everything we can to responsibly lessen it.

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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