Automakers around the world are pouring billions of dollars into developing and building vehicles that don't emit greenhouse gases while on the road.
But what if your car could do one better: actually removing carbon from the atmosphere as it drives?
That’s the goal of the team of researchers from the Netherlands behind the ZEM, which stands for zero-emission mobility.
The developers of the sporty two-door sedan, who are currently showcasing it at stops across the U.S., told Reuters that it is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack — just like a conventional electric vehicle.
But the ZEM also includes a pair of filters that can capture more than four pounds of carbon dioxide from the air across some 20,000 miles of driving.
The result is a car that isn’t just zero-emission; it actually removes more carbon than it emits.
The technology won’t mitigate carbon emissions on the scale scientists say is needed to combat climate change, but it could make EVs even more environmentally friendly. Although they don’t emit carbon on the highway, the process of manufacturing and charging EVs can produce it — meaning that they may need to travel thousands of miles before becoming a net-positive for the environment.
Eindhoven researchers hope to create a truly carbon-neutral vehicle from production to recycling. Many of its parts are made from 3D-printed plastic, and, one day, its CO2 filters could be emptied while the vehicle is charging for additional carbon-capture.
The car is far from the first groundbreaking, environmentally friendly vehicle made by Eindhoven students: about a year ago, another group took a solar-powered camper on a road trip to Portugal.