The Ecomotive team of the TU Eindhoven has presented another interesting concept car. Luca is an electric car that is consistently designed for sustainability. With lightweight construction and recycled materials, Luca is designed to conserve resources.
The students rely on a composite material made of flax and recycled PET plastic as well as recycled aluminum. The plastic is to be obtained to a large extent from plastic waste collected from the sea. According to the TU Eindhoven team, they want to show that electric cars can not only become cheaper, but that waste can also be a valuable resource.
The two-seater is driven by two wheel hub motors, which together produce 15 kW. With this motor arrangement, which is also used by the Lightyear solar car project for efficiency reasons. Lightyear also is a spin-off from the TU Eindhoven, the efficiency between battery and wheel should be 92 percent. Since wheel hub motors increase the unsprung masses, they have a negative effect on the driving behavior of a car. In addition to the Dutch companies, the drive specialist Protean Electric, now part of the Chinese Evergrande Group, is also working on wheel hub motors for electric cars.
In the Luca, the electricity comes from a small battery consisting of six modules. There is no further information on the capacity or the cell chemistry used in the communication. However, it says that the modules can be exchanged for full ones, as well as for more modern batteries as soon as the technology becomes available.
The Luca’s special features also include the bodywork. The two occupants sit in a kind of tub made of special sandwich panels. These are made of recycled PET inside, the surface of the panels is made of flax fibres impregnated with recycled polypropylene. Subframes made of recycled aluminum are then attached to the front and rear of the tub, to which the suspension is attached. The front subframe also houses the battery.
The interior is also dominated by sustainability, not only in the choice of materials. The large infotainment screens in modern cars are a “waste of resources”, as they (like the cars themselves) are not used at all for most of the time. That’s why the smartphone in Luca is supposed to take over this task (and also the navigation). The most important information, such as speed, should be projected into the windscreen for the driver via head-up display.
Since the Ecomotive team only started work eleven months ago, Luca does not even have a model at present, but only the renderings shown here. However, work on a working prototype is underway, and Luca is scheduled to go on a promotional tour in summer 2020.