This initiative, born at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, is led by the TU/Ecomotive team, a collective of 22 students. Its aim: to demonstrate that waste is valuable and can be used to make objects as sophisticated as cars. Their concept car project, first unveiled last December, quickly became a reality as it took them less than a year to create it and make it functional.
When plastic waste rhymes with technology
The small yellow concept car is equipped with a frame made of a honeycomb structure of recycled PET. This structure is covered with a "skin" made from flax fibres impregnated with recycled polypropylene obtained from plastic waste recovered from the ocean: a complex and innovative composite which, according to researchers, gives it surprising rigidity and durability.
The car's body is made from recycled ABS, and the finish is achieved using a yellow-coloured film rather than paint, which can be easily removed and recycled at the end of its life.
The interior is just as original: it also contains a good amount of recycled waste. The cushions of both seats are made from coconut hair and horsehair, while the suede-like fabric covering them is made from recycled PET.
Sustainable mobility for a sustainable future
The small two-seater car has an electric powertrain, featuring two electric motors that allow it to reach a top speed of 90 km and give it an impressive range of around 230 kilometres.
All in all, the Luca is particularly lightweight, weighing in as it does at just 360 kg.
Although the little Luca looks great, it may never hit the road. Instead, the TU/Ecomotive team is demonstrating the potential of plastic waste, recycled materials and new biological materials in this bold, environmentally friendly concept car. In the near future, those materials could find their way into the automotive industry and, why not, other industrial sectors.
As Wouter Winant, Technical Director at EconCore, a leader in the thermoplastic honeycomb core industry and partner of Team Luca, sums up: We are delighted to support the TU/Ecomotive team because we share similar values in terms of using technology to produce sustainable products and minimise waste. Through innovation we can create much more sustainable solutions and the Luca car project demonstrates this in a very smart way.