The First Recycled Plastic Car Is Almost Here

Luca, the First Recycled Plastic and Flax Car

Students at the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands have created the world’s most eco-friendly car yet: Luca, a lightweight electric car made from recycled and renewable materials. TU/Ecomotive’s PR manager, Matthijs van Wijk, says the company is showing the world that “waste can be a valuable resource that can still be used.”

Luca’s chassis is made with both renewable and recycled materials. Recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polypropylene (PP) plastics are embedded between layers of flax, creating a strong and resilient material.

Flax fibers are obtained from the flax or linseed plant, which is a renewable resource that can be grown without supplementary irrigation and with little to no pesticides. Flax can also be easily processed into working materials without chemicals, making it eco-friendly from raw to manufactured material.

Recycled plastic and flax composite
The car’s chassis will be made with a composite comprised of PET and PP plastic that’s been removed from the ocean and flax. Image: TU/Ecomotive.

The PET and PP plastic used in the vehicle will be reclaimed from the ocean, where plastic pollution kills hundreds of thousands of marine animals every year. Ocean plastic pollution is one of the fastest-growing environmental crises we currently face.

In addition, the designers are working with the Israeli startup UBQ to create a body molded from a material that is made from household waste and recycled polypropylene. The car’s frame will be made with recycled aluminum, making it lightweight and eco-friendly.

The two-seater vehicle will be powered by six battery packs that can easily be replaced as battery technology improves, increasing the potential lifespan of the energy-efficient vehicle. The car’s wheels will have motors that have a combined power of 15 KW. Luca’s design team hopes to achieve a battery-to-wheel efficiency rate of 92%,

Luca’s driving experience is intended to be comfortable: the car’s two seats will be custom-made for the owner and their passenger of choice.

The car’s dashboard will also have a cutting-edge design. The ubiquity of smartphones has eliminated the need for expensive, space-consuming entertainment and navigational aids. Instead, there will be a mount for a phone, while important information, like vehicle speed, will be displayed directly on the windshield.

Luca’s design team hopes to have a final prototype ready to hit the road in time for promotional events scheduled for this summer. Learn more at TU/Ecomotive.

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