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Plastic fantastic: Kiwi team invents the world's first recyclable plastic car

A team of Canterbury University engineering students are confident they've invented the world's first electric and recyclable car – that is made almost entirely from plastic.

It'll be the first time a Kiwi team's had an entry in the Shell Eco-Marathon since the competition began in 1939.

The event challenges different classes of vehicles (fuel cell, solar, gasoline, diesel and LPG) to keep an average speed of more than 23km/h over a distance of 16km.

The student designed one-person vehicle will be judged on its fuel efficiency and innovation, not speed.

The vehicle, a final year project for the eight engineering students involved, has taken a year to design and build and was completed over the summer break.

The team hopes its brushless DC motor gives them an edge over a competition.

"A lot of teams run a brush motor which is no way near as efficient and a brushless motor is a lot more efficient but a lot more complicated to get right," said the team's Technical Director, Reuben Audley.

The car has also been produced entirely from thermoformed plastic sheets.

"So the whole thing is made out of plastic which we think is a world first where the chassis is plastic, the body panels are plastic, so it's not just plastic panels over a steel frame - the whole thing is plastic which sets it apart," Mr Audley said.

"The plastic we've used is 100 per cent recyclable which means you could theoretically recycle the entire car."

It has cost between $20,000 and $30,000 to produce.

The competition takes place in Singapore 16 – 19 March.

"I think we could really win it and represent New Zealand well over in Asia," said Mr Audley.

The one-person vehicle is made almost entirely from plastic, and will represent NZ at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Singapore later this year. Source: 1 NEWS