Imagine this: you climb into your hot rod, settle your back against the familiar seat and grasp the steering column with anticipation. But instead of revving up your combustion engine, you hit the power button on an electric screwdriver, and zoom off into the sunset. You’re probably thinking, “There’s no power tool on this planet that could propel a vehicle down the road.” But you’d be wrong.
A team of German university students has designed a wooden racer that uses an off-the-shelf Bosch screwdriver as its only source of power. Called Rennholz, which translates to “Race Wood,” the miniature hot rod was designed as an entry to HAWK Hildesheim’s biannual race, which restricts entrants to using electric screwdrivers in lieu of high power motors.
Looking like a cross between a bobsled, a go-cart and a recumbent bicycle, the Rennholz is constructed primarily of custom-fabricated bent plywood. Not only is this material more sustainable, the wood’s natural pliability provides superior comfort and a sleek look. The racer’s mechanical components are made from aluminum, mostly lifted from other bikes.
Not surprisingly the concept vehicle, developed by design students Jirka Wolff, Andreas Heise Patsiaouras and Marcel, won both the grand prize and audience award at the 2011 “screwdriver race.”
According to a recent review, the screwdriver-powered bike can hold speeds of up to 15 mph for 10 minutes at a time. With a larger battery, the vehicle could have the potential to drive further, but its designers doubt that the tool would be able to hold up that long.