October 8, 2020 — Every year, Netherland-based student company TU/Ecomotive produces an electric car with a team of 21 BA students from the Eindhoven University of Technology, with the aim of showing the world that the hypothetical, sustainable car of the future, can be a reality today.
The design of the sixth TU/Ecomotive car, Luca, was revealed on October 8, 2020. With this zero-waste car, the team wants to show that waste can be a valuable material with a multitude of applications.
Luca is made of materials that are normally thrown away. The chassis is comprised of flax, recycled PET and PP coming straight out of the ocean, the seat cushions are made of coconut fibre and horsehair, and the front and rear parts of the chassis are made out of a tube frame from recycled aluminum.
Luca’s body was manufactured by TU/ecomotive out of UBQ™ material. UBQ™ is a patented novel climate-positive material created by Israeli startup UBQ Materials (https://www.ubqmaterials.com/) that can substitute conventional plastic, wood and concrete in the manufacturing of everyday products. UBQ™ is a proprietary composite, the world’s first bio-based material made of unsorted organic, paper and plastic waste – everything from banana peels to dirty diapers to used yoghurt containers and cardboard.
The central value proposition of using UBQ™ is its sustainability metrics, significantly reducing and even neutralizing the carbon footprint of final applications. By diverting household waste from reaching landfills, UBQ™ prevents the emission of methane, groundwater leakage and other toxins. According to Quantis, a leading provider of environmental impact assessments, every ton of UBQ™ material produced offsets 11.7 tons of CO2 equivalent, qualifying it as ‘the most climate-positive thermoplastic material on the planet.”
According to Christopher O’Brien de Ponte, account manager at TU/ecomotive, “Luca only scratches the surface of the potential use cases of the material… TU/ecomotive is very much looking forward to continuing to use UBQ in future cars, expanding its applications, and continuing its mission to prove that there is value in waste.”
This isn’t the first time UBQ™ is used in automotive manufacturing. In early 2020, UBQ Materials announced its collaboration with Daimler, manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz, for the implementation of UBQ™ in car parts and throughout Daimler’s supply chain.
Luca is designed to be highly energy-efficient. The car’s in-wheel motors mitigate losses in the drivetrain, and the two electric motors have a combined power of 15 kW, powered by six modular battery packs. The packs are easily replaceable, so that when new technology is available in the future they can be seamlessly substituted by full packs and more modern batteries.
The next step for TU/ecomotive is to obtain a license plate for Luca. By ensuring that the car is road-legal, the team wants to prove that sustainable innovation is readily available to implement across the automotive industry.
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UBQ Materials was founded in 2012 by entrepreneurs Rabbi Yehuda Pearl and Jack (Tato) Bigio. A certified B-Corp, Israel-based UBQ Materials envisions a world where finite resources are infinitely reused. UBQ Materials makes household waste a renewable resource; through its patented process, unsorted waste becomes UBQ™ material, an infinitely renewable thermoplastic resource with ever-expanding applicability. Learn more about UBQ Materials on its website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.