Students of the Eindhoven University of Technology developed Noah: World’s first circular car
TU/ecomotive is a student team at the Eindhoven University of Technology
Noah: World’s first circular car. The materials which Noah is made of are completely recyclable and will be easily detachable. Just like his older sister, Lina, Noah’s chassis, body and interior will be completely fabricated from biobased-materials made from a combination of flax and sugar. The two-seated car will be three hundred and fifty kilograms and is powered by six modular batteries. During their final event in July, they will show Noah is a practical road legal car.
Noah is a fully electric city car and seats two people. Just as his big sister, Lina, his chassis, body panels and interior are made from a biocomposite with as main component flax. The biocomposite of Lina has been reinvented this year to be even more sustainable in both production as recyclability. For this year the matrix of polypropylene has been replaced by a matrix of PLA (sugar). With this adaptation, the biocomposite will be produced with materials that are over 90 percent made from renewable resources. The chassis will be constructed out of a sandwich panel combining the biocomposite with a honeycomb structured core from sugar (PLA). Due to the fact that the entire sandwich panel only consists of two materials (PLA and flax), it is now fully recyclable.
The circular economy was a leading concept during the design process of Noah that focuses on sustainable production, use and in the end the level of recyclability. With Noah only weighing 350 kilograms, he can drive very efficient. The complete drivetrain has been optimized and with a gearbox called “Smesh Gear” which will reach an efficiency of 97% (!) during acceleration and even a 100% efficiency at constant speeds, this makes the entire drivetrain of Noah incredibly energy efficient. The electromotors are powered by six modular batteries that enable easy battery swapping and the possibility to gradually introduce better battery technology when available. For Noah to be future ready he is equipped with NFC scanners in the doors which make him perfect for carsharing. With this NFC scanner, the door can be opened by any mobile device, Noah will immediately recognize the user and set the car to his or her personal preferences.
The population of our planet is increasing drastically and estimations predict that we will reach a level of 10 billion people as soon as 2050. Besides this fact, people’s life expectancies are increasing all around the world. Next to this, since people live longer and the economy continues to grow, the claim on resources will triple or even quadruple. The problem is that the planet only delivers so many resources per year and therefore more resources are consummated than the earth can produce. Every year the World Overshoot Day is calculated: the calendar date on which humanity’s resource consumption for the year exceeds earth’s capacity to regenerate those resources within a year. In 2017 this day was August 2nd. The team believes that to solve this excessive use of resources, society has to adopt a circular economy. By recycling products, using renewable resources and by using smart design fewer resources are taken from the planet.
This year TU/Ecomotive will prove that circularity is already possible in complicated products (such as a car) today. This will be proven by making the first circular car in the world: Noah. To accomplish their goal TU/Ecomotive will use renewable resources to further develop bio-based materials, drive fully electric and design Noah to be recycled. These leaps forward in circular mobility will make Noah the most sustainable car in the world. He will seat two persons and will be built out of sustainable materials to reduce the carbon dioxide footprint by reducing energy usage during production. As will be common in the near feature, Noah drives fully electric with his newly developed drivetrain, making use of smart modular battery packs. Noah’s motors have a combined power of 15kW, with which Noah will reach a speed of approximately 100 km/h and a total range of 240 kilometers. At the end of the lifecycle, the car will be fully recyclable, which lowers the need for raw products and gives the used materials a new life. This all will ensure a sustainable path from cradle to cradle. To empower their dream, the team wants to show that going green is not a trade-off with practicality, comfort or aesthetics. Therefore, the new car will be quite the looker and will provide comfort for its users. A feature of its practicality and comfort comes forward by the fact that Noah will be a connected car. In one touch, Noah will adapt itself to all the preferences of the driver and by using NFC technology and Wi-Fi in the car Noah will be optimally equipped for car sharing since car sharing will be an important step towards the sustainable usage of our smart mobility.
TU/ecomotive will apply for a license plate for Noah. This requires the endurance of multiple tests, which are intended to prove the roadworthiness and overall safety of every automobile. By working closely with the RDW during the development of Noah, the team is minimizing the probability of issues during testing. When tests go well, Noah will be allowed to drive on public roads later this year.
In previous years the team has always competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon, however, this year will be different. The regulations limited earlier cars of the team in both design and efficiency. That is why the team chose to not compete in this contest but instead bring Noah to the public. This allows the team to take the step from making a concept car to a car that is truly in touch with reality. Equipped with a license plate and together with the team’s partners, they will organize a completely new event, visiting several major cities in Europe during the summer of 2018 to showcase Noah on the public roads.
The company also worked on another electric car, Lina. Unique to Lina is that her entire chassis, body, and interior are made from bio-based materials. Thanks to a weight of just 310 kilograms, the car is extremely efficient, which will be shown during the Shell Eco-marathon 2017 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. The city car seats four people.
TU/ecomotive utilizes a combination of bio-based composites and bio-based plastics to create their chassis. The bio-based composite is made from flax, a plant that can be grown in any moderate climate. The bio-composite has a strength/weight ratio similar to glass fibre, but is manufactured in a sustainable manner. A honeycomb shaped core produced from bio-plastic, known as PLA and made entirely from sugar beets, is placed in-between two flax composite sheets to provide stiffness to the strong composite.
The drivetrain of Lina is electric. Power is supplied by modular battery packs, giving a power output of 8kW using 2 DC-motors. This allows Lina to reach a top speed of 80 km/h.
Lina is the next step to what we think is the car of the future. Sustainable materials, efficient drivetrain and still practical due to its four seats and small dimensions.