Tu/e students build recycled cars: ‘we want to shake up the industry’

© luxion

"more and more people want to consume more and more. That is why we are using more and more of the earth’s resources. After we have used something for a relatively short time, we throw it away again. That does not go on. If we change course and make something out of this waste, we can solve all the problems at once."says matthijs van wijk, PR manager of the TU/ecomotive student team at the technical university of eindhoven in the netherlands. The team is doing its part to solve the problem by making a car from recycled materials, the luca.

with this car, the students want to show the industry that production can also be more environmentally friendly. "the enormous amounts of waste we have on earth are not only a problem, they can also be part of the solution. We can easily reuse the material. That means we need fewer raw materials," says van wijk. To reinforce their point of view, the students will apply for a license plate for luca at the RDW, the dutch car registration office. This also happened with the former TU/ecomotive car lina. "if we get a registration, it shows that it is a roadworthy car. Then we can really go out on the road with it," he continues.

Shaking up the industry

Different test conditions apply to one-off concept conversions than to cars produced in large numbers. "the safety requirements are about the same, but we don’t have to crash test, for example. that would be a bit of a shame, since we only have one," laughs van wijk. The students do not want to produce the car on a large scale either. "our goal is to encourage the industry to look more at recycled material."

To be a good example, luca was built so that the car could be produced on a large scale. Van wijk: "we also paid attention to seat comfort, and the car has an infotainment system. Thus it corresponds to the desires of many drivers."the student is not under the illusion that one manufacturer will take over and produce the entire car. "a lot would already be achieved if we started to think about using other materials."

plug in your phone

Luca is made entirely from recycled material. the body and floor panel is made of flax, a plant. The flat plates are reinforced with recycled plastic. The other materials have also been recycled. "there is no separate computer in the car for the infotainment system, which is used for music and navigation," says the student. "everyone has a computer in their pocket today. It’s a shame to put another one in the car. We set it up so you can just plug in the phone and use it as an infotainment system."

The car is also very economical. "The electric motors are located directly in the wheels. So the energy doesn’t have to go through the transmission with cables and gears," van wijk explains. "this means that we have less energy losses. 92 percent of the energy is transferred to the ground by the wheel". that’s a lot when you consider that it’s about 75 percent for a regular electric car and 17 percent for a gasoline car.

reduction of CO2 emissions

The TU/ecomotive student team has been in existence for seven years. in the beginning, the team built a car every year for the shell eco-marathon. In this competition, the cars have to cover a long distance in the most energy-efficient way possible. "in past years, our team’s car was always too heavy to participate. Because we didn’t just want to build a fuel-efficient car, we wanted to build a realistic car," explains van wijk. "that’s why we decided last year not to participate in the shell eco-marathon, but to focus entirely on getting approved. this way we want to show the car industry and consumers the innovative possibilities".

According to van wijk, there are still some steps to be taken to reduce CO2 emissions around the car, from production to scrapping. "with luca, we are focusing entirely on recycled materials. Next year we will look at a different topic". he has more than enough ideas: "the production of a car costs a lot of energy and therefore emits a lot of CO2. We can look at many other aspects of sustainable production in the future. There are still many steps to take, for example, in the area of shared cars".

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About the author

Alt="author profile picture" />linda bak is always looking for the stories behind the news. She is fascinated by statistics and uses not only words but also numbers to tell these stories.

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