In the race for the cleanest car, the materials that are used to produce the car are often overlooked. We want emission-free electric or hybrid cars, but they should not lose anything in terms of luxury compared to the fossil fuel cars we are accustomed to. As a result, many electric cars still have a considerable footprint. The materials are often largely recycled, but the production process still requires an excessive amount of valuable raw materials and results in massive Co2 emissions.
According to a recent study by the North German newspaper Der Nordschleswiger, it is becoming increasingly apparent that electric cars are not the climate-friendly alternative to traditional cars they are often made out to be, since their insatiable appetite for raw materials is anything but environmentally friendly. According to the newspaper, it is now also apparent that the production of batteries is so bad for the environment that electric driving will only be more beneficial after many years.
According to a Swedish research, every kilowatt hour (kWh) of capacity leads to 150 to 200 kilos of greenhouse gas emissions. For a small electric car with a 30 kWh battery, this would mean that 5.3 tonnes of extra CO2 have already been emitted before the car even leaves the factory. That’s 2.7 years of driving a comparable petrol car. For a Tesla model S, the emissions run up even higher. It has a battery of up to 100 kWh, which means you’d have to drive it for more than eight years before the climate benefits.
So electric cars also have a strong impact on climate. Compared to petrol cars, the battery production provides additional greenhouse gas emissions. But during use, the emissions of electric cars are considerably lower, especially because the technology is improving rapidly.
Students at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU) have reviewed the entire car production process and presented a car made mainly of bio-composite during the Dutch Technology Week in Eindhoven. The car is called ‘Lina’ and was designed and built by the TU / ecomotive student team. The chassis, body and interior of the car consist entirely of natural materials.
With this, the team wants to show that the city car is not only super-efficient thanks to its low weight of 300 kilograms, it has also been produced with sustainability in mind.
TU / ecomotive used a mixture of a bio-composite and a bio-plastic for their chassis. The bio-plastic (PLA) is made entirely from sugar beet. The body is composed of bio-composite sheets made of flax. The bio-composite is comparable to glass fiber in terms of strength and weight. The TU / ecomotive team can be seen at the Shell Ecomarathon in London from 25 to 28 May.
This post is also available in: Dutch