students build electric car

This electric car built by Dutch students is made entirely of waste — even the chassis

There’s not a single country out there that doesn’t produce thousands if not millions of tons of waste every single year. The Netherlands alone produces 8.5 billion kilograms of waste each year. (1) Dutch students took that and built an electric car made almost entirely out of waste. (2)

Dutch Students Build Electric Car Almost Completely From Waste

See a problem, find a solution: This is just what this team of 22 Dutch students set out to achieve when hearing about The Netherland’s waste problem. Meet Luca, the electric car made almost entirely out of waste. (2)

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Built by students at the Technical University of Eindhoven, the bright yellow car can fit two people and can reach a maximum speed of 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour. Luca can last for 220km. (3)

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The Materials

Luca the electric car is made from a mixture of recycled materials and unsorted waste. The chassis is made of flax and recycled Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. (2)

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Hard recycled plastics make up the body of the car. They are sourced from toys, televisions, and kitchen appliances (2):

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The interior is made of unsorted waste and the seat cushions from coconut and horsehair. It took the students 18 months to design and build Luca. The result of that work is better than they could have imagined. (2)

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“This car is really special, because it’s made all out of waste.” project manager Lisa van Etten said of Luca. (2)

Goals for the Future

Of course, this car is an example of what is possible for waste. Though cars won’t be made entirely out of waste (at the very least not anytime soon), the students hope to set an example of what is possible. (3)

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“We really hope that car companies will start using waste materials,” said production team member Matthijs van Wijk. “It’s possible in many applications. More and more companies use waste or biobased materials in the interior, we want to show that it’s also possible to build a chassis out of it.” (3)

Not Entirely From Waste

The electric car is not 100% made from recycled waste. Items that aren’t waste include six modular batteries, the tires, and the motors (2):

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The students contacted companies that are currently creating biodegradable tires, however, no prototypes are ready for use just yet. They purchased the motors because they did not have enough people to put into developing a motor made from recycled materials and waste. (2)

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Other Waste Innovations

Students truly will be the ones to change our future for the better. A student in Brazil created solar windows made from rotting fruit. Not only do these solar windows make use of something that would otherwise be tossed out, but they also can turn buildings into vertical solar energy farms.

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Though finding ways to reduce our overall creation of waste is necessary, finding ways to use waste we do create will also help to make the world a more sustainable place.

Read More: Car goes up in flames when driver smoking cigarette uses hand sanitizer

  1. ‘Dutch produce 500kg of garbage per year; Recycling nears 60%’ NL Times. Published June 27, 2020.
  2. ‘Dutch students build electric car almost entirely from recycled materials’ CBC Thomson Reuters. Published November’ 13, 2020.
  3. ‘Waste not, want not: Dutch students build electric car from recycled material’ Reuters. Published November 12, 2020.
Julie Hambleton
Freelance Writer
Julie Hambleton has a BSc in Food and Nutrition from the Western University, Canada, is a former certified personal trainer and a competitive runner. Julie loves food, culture, and health, and enjoys sharing her knowledge to help others make positive changes and live healthier lives.
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