With the introduction of electric vehicles in the automotive industry, cars have become a lot more fuel efficient and less greenhouse gasses are being emitted. But what is the purpose of a super-efficient car when the process of producing the car, nullifies its efficiency. Car manufacturers are building cars to be lighter and thus more efficient, however the materials used, such as aluminum and carbon, are not sustainable at all. Making cars more efficient is without doubt the right way to go, but we have to be conscious about the downside which comes with this trend. The great majority of consumers is not aware of this trend.
That is why TU/ecomotive will develop the city car which tackles this problem. We believe the production process should be altered in drastic ways. As the switch to electrical drivetrains require significant changes to the vehicles’ design, we think that this is the perfect moment to step away from the traditional design mentality and start with a clean slate. We are building a car which is clean from factory until demolition. New materials like bio-composite will be used in an innovative way to make structural components and replace the known materials like steel, aluminium and carbon. To show that this has no effect on comfort and practicality, EM-04 will receive a license plate and demonstrate her efficiency to the public at the Shell Eco-Marathon. EM-04 will show the world that our dream of a CO2 neutral car is more realistic than it may seem.
Choice of Material
The first step to a sustainable production process is the choice of materials used. Sustainability will be the foundation for every choice we make during the development of the EM-04. This means materials like carbon and aluminium are being avoided wherever it is possible and alternatives like bio composite are used as much as possible. Even structural parts like the chassis will be build out of this new, and completely bio based, material. Secondly, these materials and components should not come from the other side of the world to reduce greenhouse gasses being emitted due to transportation. Our goal is to use local products and work together with local partners.
Increasing efficiency of today’s vehicles is a positive trend which we want to follow up on as well and take it a step further. Our city car should be as lightweight as possible to be super-efficient, which also leads to a bigger range. To prove EM-04’s extreme efficiency we will participate in the Shell Eco-marathon 2017, this is an efficiency endurance race in which the most fuel efficient cars of the world compete. Our car will be practical and still be able to participate in this race.
In the footsteps of Nova, the EM-04 will adopt the modular battery packs used in Nova. These easy to swap battery packs make life a lot easier when it comes to ‘refuelling’ your car. The city car of the future has no time to stand still at a charger for a couple of hours but has to be on the road again in seconds. Besides that, when sustainable batteries are reality in the future, EM-04 can use them right away!
Being efficient and sustainable is not enough to be a real city car. The city car a consumer would drive has to provide comfort. The car of the future can be efficient and sustainable while being spacious and luxurious at the same time. To show that the EM-04 is usable in modern day society and is roadworthy, we are dedicated to obtain a license plate. By doing so, EM-04 can display herself to the public while driving.