Students in Amsterdam have designed the world’s first bio-based car designed using bio-composites. The students at the Netherlands-based Eindhoven University of technology are part of the TU/Ecomotive, a university-based organisation that develops new electric cars each year. Lina is 2017’s model and the next step to what they believe could be the car of the future – it is made from sustainable materials, is an efficient drive and practical. As a four-seat electric vehicle, Lina only weighs 300 kilograms and can reach up to speeds of 85km/h. During the design process the vehicle’s weight became a priority in the design and production process. The car will now undergo an inspection carried out by the RDW Netherlands Vehicle Authority before it can tested on public roads in Amsterdam.
"This material has a structure that is comparable with carbon fibre, but more than 90 percent biological."
What is particularly unique about the 2017 model is that it has been made from flax. The plant-based composite is becoming an increasingly effective material due to its strong latticed structure. Flax fibres are obtained from the stem of the plant and are two/three times as strong as cotton fibres. Surprisingly, its strength is comparable with carbon fibre but more than 90 percent bio-based. More increasingly, car manufacturers are using carbon and aluminium to keep their cars lightweight, however, they use six times more energy. This makes flax an interesting alternative which uses less energy, is lightweight and can be recycled. What’s more is that the plant grows all over Europe, including the Netherlands.
To power the car, a redesigned battery pack from Nova will be used to enable easy battery swapping as well as using new battery technologies. Additionally, a sandwich panel is created by pressing two composite sheets against a 95 percent biological honeycomb PLA. These sandwich panels will be combined to form Lina’s chassis.
Lina makes sets another innovative benchmark however - it is also future proof and can be locked with a smartphone. This means that the car is able to recognise the user and adapt to the user’s personal setting like a music playlist or phone contacts.
To overcome the next milestone, Lina will undergo an office highway inspection to receive a licence number which will enable the car to be used on public roads. Once this has been confirmed, it is expected that Lina will be presented some time before the summer.
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