Unpronouncable QarmaQ crossover is made from plastic bottles
8 March 2007

Discarded plastic water bottles – 900 of them – make up the front wings of this X5-sized cross-over concept, this being one of over 30 innovations contained within its swoopy lines.

QarmaQ – the name is derived from traditional Inuit dwellings, and no, we don’t know how to pronounce it either – is a collaboration with automotive supplier GE Plastics. A major feature is an elastic front-end body structure improving pedestrian impact protection that’s currently undergoing testing. Like many QarmaQ features it may appear on various Hyundais to be launched between 2008-14.

The body panels are up to 50 per cent lighter, but more impressive is that their recycled plastic does not degrade during the regeneration process, which is why plastic bottles – a major global pollution issue – can be used.

QarmaQ also features glass that’s 50 per cent lighter, the laminate largely being made of Lexan (a super-tough plastic), which has a thin layer of glass bonded to it to prevent scratching. The technology allows glass to be sculpted, distortion-free, in more directions than is possible today. Mood lighting can also be incorporated.

QarmaQ is powered by a 170bhp 2.0 diesel that complies with the tough Euro 5 emission standard.

Although Hyundai is unlikely to produce a model this extreme, there’s every chance that it will create an innovative crossover within the next two years. This is its third crossover concept (Neo 3 and Talus came before), and expensive crash-testing of the QarmaQ’s front end suggests serious intent.

Richard Bremner

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