Lina bio-based car features sandwich composites

Students at TU/Ecomotive have developed an all-electric vehicle that features bio-based composites reinforced with flax fibers.

Eindhoven University (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) students have designed and developed Lina, the world's first car made from bio-composites. The students are members of TU/Ecomotive, a university-based organization that each year develops a new all-electric car. Lina is the 2017 version and uses a combination of bio-based composites and bioplastics to create a lightweight chassis. The bio-based composite, made with flax, reportedly offers a strength/weight ratio similar to that of glass fiber, but differs regarding sustainability.

TU/Ecomotive used EconCore’s (Leuven, Belgium) core technology for cost-effective, continuous production of thermoplastic honeycomb materials, which yielded the bioplastic honeycomb based on PLA (polylactic cid) of NatureWorks. The honeycomb core made of PLA – 100% biodegradable resin derived from sugar beets – is placed in-between two flax fiber composite sheets to provide the sandwich panel: high stiffness and strength at minimal weight.

According to TU/Ecomotive, the concept has the potential to drastically reduce the carbon footprint compared to other lightweight materials used in the industry. The drivetrain of Lina is electric. Power is supplied by modular battery packs, giving a power output of 8 kW using two DC-motors. This allows Lina to reach a top speed of 80 km/h. To complement Lina’s sustainability, the vehicle is equipped with near-field technology(NFC) in its doors is to detect and recognize different users, which TU/Ecomotive says makes Lina highly suited for car-sharing platforms.

Lina can be seen during the Shell Eco-marathon 2017, held from the May 25-28 in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, UK.