Luca concept car will be built using plastic waste
For its sixth concept vehicle, the ecomotive team at the Eindhoven University of Technology will build Luca – a sporty compact EV that's built using a bio-based composite that includes plastic waste reclaimed from the ocean.
The focus of the TU team's previous design concept was sustainability and end-of-life recyclability. This year's project is aimed at reusing materials that are otherwise thrown away, and in doing so show that waste can be a valuable resource.
As the world's human population approaches 8 billion, we need to do more to reduce resource consumption while also better handling our waste, which currently ends up in our rivers and oceans, pumped into the air at incineration plants, or gathered in methane-belching landfill sites. The Eindhoven ecomotive team "does not see it as waste but as a valuable material that can still be used for many applications."
The idea is to implement as much waste as possible when building the Luca concept car. Its chassis is to be made using a composite material with reclaimed polyethylene terephthalate (PET) sandwiched between outer layers of flax. The body will be formed using a new material being developed in collaboration with Israeli startup UBQ, which will combine its additive derived from household waste with recycled polypropylene (PP). There will also be recycled aluminum spaceframes front and rear.
Plans call for two in-wheel motors (15 kW combined) and six battery packs for a target battery-to-wheel efficiency of up to 92 percent. The batteries are modular in nature, so can be swapped out for more efficient units as and when the technology advances.
Inside, the Luca concept is to have two custom-made seats installed and, since the design team believes that putting huge infotainment displays in the front of the vehicle is a waste of resources, the vehicle will leverage the power of a smartphone for info and entertainment needs, though a head-up display will provide line-of-sight navigation aids.
Work on the build has started, and the team is aiming for completion by June – when Luca will (hopefully) have been judged road legal by the authorities and begin a promotional tour.