Dutch students have grown an electric biodegradable car derived from sugar beets and flax.

The lightweight resin vehicle, called Lina, can carry four passengers and has a top speed of 50mph.

Its inventors, students from the TU/Ecomotive team at the Eindhoven University of Technology, say it could be the next step in getting environmentally-friendly technologies into the automotive industry.

The car is covered with sheets of Dutch-grown flax, has a similar strength-to-weight ratio to fibreglass and weighs only 310kg (684lbs).

Only the wheels and suspension systems are not yet of bio-based materials, said Yanic van Riel, one of the developers from the team.

Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be seen zipping around on roads soon as it has not passed any crash tests.

This is because the material will not bend like metal, but break said the team leader Noud van de Gevel.

The team is hoping to test drive Lina later this year, once the Netherlands Vehicle Authority gives the project the nod.

Environmentally-friendly vehicle design is a key concern to the automotive industry as regulators seek to bring down air pollution and mitigate climate change.

However, while the cars being developed may not use as much energy to drive, that energy is often spent during their manufacture, according to the researchers.

Energy that is saved while driving the car is now spent during the production phase, Mr van de Gevel said.

(c) Sky News 2017: Dutch students grow biodegradable car from sugar and flax