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Lina: the world’s first car made from bio-based materials

08 August 2017

A team of students have created the world’s first car that will be structurally built from bio-composites, making is extremely lightweight and efficient.

Lina (Credit: TU/ecomotive)

In recent years, improving efficiency has been a big focus in the automotive industry. While optimising fuel-efficiency to reduce emissions is a positive development, it is accompanied with negative side-effects. Car manufacturers opt for lightweight materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre to create lighter, more efficient cars. Processing of these materials however, requires five to six times more energy than steel, the material which they replaced. Consequently, energy that is saved while driving the car is now being spent during the production phase. In addition, recyclability of these lightweight materials is lacking significantly compared to steel.

TU/ecomotive is a student team from the Eindhoven University of Technology. On the 17 May they presented their fourth concept car: Lina. Lina is the world’s first car that will be structurally built from bio-composites.

Lina’s entire chassis, body and interior are made from bio-based materials. A combination of bio-based composites and plastics create the chassis. The bio-based composite is made from flax, a plant that can be grown any moderate climate. It has a strength/weight ratio similar to glass fibre, but is manufactured in a sustainable manner. A honeycomb shaped core produced from bio-plastic, known as PLA and made entirely from sugar beets, is placed in-between tow flax composite sheets to provide stiffness to the strong composite.

The car seats four people and weighs just 310kg, making it extremely efficient. The drivetrain is electric, powered is supplied by modular battery packs giving a power output of 8kW using two DC-motors. This gives Lina a top speed of 50mph.

Lina is also equipped with high-tech features such as NFC (Near Field Communication). The technology is implemented in the doors and used to detect and recognise different drivers, which makes the car ideally suited for car-sharing platforms. 

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