The environmental impact of a car is determined not only by its consumption, but also by its production and final recycling. That is why students from TU Eindhoven developed a car that has been optimized for all these aspects.
The result is Noah, an ultra-light electric-powered prototype based on flax fiber and sugar, good for a consumption equal to 1: 300. Noah will be shown for the first time on Friday 6 July at the Suikerunie in Dinteloord. Then the student team, TU / ecomotive, will go on a European tour to inspire others.
Total weight of 420kg
Noah is an electric city car with two comfortable seats and a spacious trunk, a top of 110 kilometers per hour and a range of 240 kilometers. The expected consumption in urban traffic is approximately equal to 1 liter of petrol at 300 kilometers. That is partly due to the low weight. Noah weighs 360 kilos without batteries, which is less than half of comparable production cars. The car needs only 60 kilos of batteries, where electric production cars measure hundreds of kilos of batteries. The low total weight – 420 kg – leads to particularly good handling. The prototype will soon be sent to the RDW to be admitted to road traffic.
Sugar and flax
Special in Noah is the use of a bioplastic that can be made from sugar. The chassis and interior are made of particularly strong sandwich panels, made from this bioplastic and from flax fiber. The bodywork is made of flax mats that have been injected with a biobased resin. These biological and extremely light materials require up to six times less energy in production than the usual lightweight materials in the automotive industry, such as aluminum or carbon. Yet they get the necessary strength, say the students, and it is also possible to create a structure that works like a crumple zone. The flax used is a frequently used intermediate crop, a crop that is needed to enrich the soil. So its breeding does not compete with food production.
At the end of its life, the biocomposite can be ground and used as raw material for other products, such as building blocks. The non-biological parts of the car can be included in the existing recycling chain. A comparison of the team shows that there is no other, driving car that has an equally low environmental impact over the entire life cycle, not even a prototype.
During the summer months the team visits cars including European car manufacturers, suppliers and universities. The students have no plans to bring the car to the market, it is about ‘awareness’, according to team member Cas Verstappen, student Automotive Technology at the TU / e. “ We want to show that a circular economy is already possible in complex products such as a car “
He does not expect that similar cars will immediately come onto the market, but he sees the use of bioplastic panels in the structural parts and the interior as a real option.