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Sustainable transport may be just another task on environmentalists’ to-do list, but for car designers it’s a path to rethinking how automobiles are built, and from what they’re made. That’s the idea behind the “Stauro,” a conceptual roadster with the horsepower of an exotic supercar, using recycled materials in its construction. The eco-friendly hot rod envisions a day when high-performance gasoline engines are replaced by powerplants using citrus-oil and steam. No, they’re not kidding.

The Stauro concept is the product of industrial designer Taylor Welden of Austin, Texas and engineer Harry Schoell, leaders of a seven-person design team. The group designed the compact Stauro to operate within cramped urban parking spaces. The car’s exoskeleton is envisioned as 100% recycled aluminum, with body panels made from ecoresin by 3form, a co-polyester material made from 40% recycled content. But what could be the most innovative thinking is under the hood. Imagine a steam engine that runs on orange oil, and is capable of churning out 700 horsepower — or enough to send a lightweight eco-roadster into a low-earth orbit. The three-wheeled Stauro is designed to seat two passengers in comfort and safety. As for the car’s fictional production; all manufacturing facilities and materials sourced would be within 500 miles of the company headquarters, for a super-low carbon footprint. Sounds like a plan for the new GM.

[via Taylor Welden]

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