A student team from the Eindhoven University of Technology has developed the world’s first car to be structurally built from bio‐composites. On the 17th May TU/ecomotive presented their fourth concept car, Lina. The car's entire chassis, body and interior are made from bio‐based materials. Weighing just 310kg, the city car is very efficient and can seat four people. In recent years, improving efficiency has been the main focus in the automotive industry.
While optimising fuel‐efficiency to reduce emissions is a positive development, it is accompanied with negative side‐effects. Car manufacturers opt for lightweight materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre to create lighter, more efficient cars.
Processing of these materials however, requires five to six times more energy than steel, the material which they replace. Consequently, energy that is saved while driving the car is now spent during the production phase. In addition, recyclability of these lightweight materials is lacking significantly compared to steel.
TU/ecomotive utilises a combination of bio‐based composites and bio‐based plastics to create their chassis. The bio‐based composite is made from flax, a plant that can be grown in the any moderate climate. The bio‐composite has a strength/weight ratio similar to glass fibre, but is manufactured in a sustainable manner.
A honeycomb shaped core produced from bio‐plastic, known as PLA and made entirely from sugar beets, is placed in‐between two flax composite sheets to provide stiffness to the strong composite.
The drivetrain of Lina is electric. Power is supplied by modular battery packs, giving a power output of 8kW using 2 DC‐motors. This allows Lina to reach a top speed of 80km/h.
To complement Lina’s sustainability, it is equipped with several High‐Tech features. NFC technology implemented in her doors is used to detect and recognise different users, which makes Lina suited for car‐sharing platforms.