Back in January, students from Netherlands-based Eindhoven University of Technology unveiled Lina – the world’s first biocomposite car. This month, the students have been displaying the car at a handful of high-profile events, including Dutch Technology Week and the Shell Eco marathon in London. Starting June 5, the students will be touring the Netherlands with Lina.
The team wants to show that the car is not only energy-efficient but has also been produced with a view to sustainability. The super-efficient consumption of the city car is due to its low weight of just over 660 pounds. The car is certified by the Netherlands Vehicle Authority as roadworthy and is can carry four people.
Lina employs a combination of bio-based composites and bioplastics to create a lightweight chassis. The bio-based composite is based on flax, and has a strength to weight ratio similar to that of glass fiber.
A honeycomb core made of PLA (polylactic acid) – a 100% biodegradable resin derived from sugar beets – is placed between two flax fiber composite sheets to produce a sandwich panel offering high stiffness and strength at minimal weight. EconCore’s technology for cost-effective, continuous production of thermoplastic honeycomb materials was used to manufacture the honeycomb based on PLA from NatureWorks.
According to the students, the concept has the potential to drastically reduce carbon footprint compared to other lightweight materials used in the industry.
Lina’s power is supplied by modular battery packs, giving an output of 8 kW. The car has a top speed of roughly 50 mph. Near Field Communication (NFC) technology implemented in the doors is used to detect and recognize different users, which the students say makes Lina highly suited for car-sharing platforms.