In the electric car with Luc Vinckx, the new Technical Officer at the BEC.
Luc's professional side…
Luc received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the K.U.Leuven in 1982, and a degree in applied and environmental fluid mechanics from the Von Karmann Institute in 1983.
He worked as a teaching and research assistant at the K.U.Leuven. His main focus was on supporting first year engineering students in finding their way in general, and more specific with the course in thermodynamics. At the same time, he was doing research on the phenomenon of pool-boiling. He interrupted his work at the University to do his unarmed civil service in the University Hospital, in the “burns unit”, working on classification and evaluation of burn scar healing techniques.
In 1989, he decided to move to the private sector. he became “advisor technical regulations” at FEBIAC, the federation of the cars industry (including bus, truck, two-wheelers). He was involved in many issues, like the introduction of the exhaust catalyst, the biomechanical frontal and side crash tests, the mandatory introduction of ABS systems, the development of the vehicle recycling and take-back systems etc. In 1997-1998 he worked for VITO, as project leader “sustainable mobility”. In 1998, he moved to the Brussels Office of General Motors / Opel in the role of “Manager International Regulations Europe”. he was involved in many subjects in international regulations and standards, including EU, UN ECE, ISO, CEN, IEC, ETSI, ….
Since 2015, he's pursuing my career as an independent consultant with company Elephant Consult B.V. Some of his main clients: VBO-FEB, 5GAA, Van Hool, GM North America, the European Biodiesel Board, Rebus, Logos EU Affairs, Toyota Motor Europe, ….
Luc through a few questions…
Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?
Luc: "I am not trying to hide my talents, but I am merely seeking feedback from others about my talents. As an engineer and public affairs manager, I am active in my private life in several civil organizations, e.g., Samenhuizen Vlaanderen, ie-net Brabant - Brussel, … I also enjoy coaching of young students in engineering and science."
What makes you get up in the morning?
Luc: "The idea of an exciting meeting with colleagues helps me to get up. Feeling that teamwork can make the difference is a motivator to me. Watching the newest Netflix series whilst I am on my home trainer is also helpful. If both these motivators don’t work, the coffee with croissant in the Mont Blanc is the remaining option."
What is your greatest personal and professional achievement?
Luc: "I started my career as an assistant at the University of Leuven and continued my research at the University during my “civil service” in the University Hospital, working on the “burns unit”. I developed a simple way to evaluate the local pressure on the skin, exerted by the therapeutic pressure clothing. When I was at FEBIAC, I have been acting as the chair of the working group “bus and coach” at ACEA, the European federation of the car and bus manufacturers. It was a challenge to develop a fully harmonized EU directive and at the same time protect the interests of the Belgian bus & coach industry. The introduction of the seat belts in coaches and the increase of the maximum length up to 15 meters have been some of the key achievements. In 2001, I played a key role in the creation of the unique selling proposition of the Opel Meriva, the special rear bench, allowing the compact 5-seater to transform in a spacious 4-seater. The amendment to the seat belt anchorage regulation necessary for the type-approval of this new concept was the result of a last-minute lobby campaign.
I contributed to the development of new mobility concepts, aiming at a drastic reduction of the energy consumption. The EN-V concept, shown by GM at the Shanghai world exhibition (2010), was one of the most famous.
In 2011, Opel has shown a prototype of a small electric vehicle, the Opel RAKe. I have played a key role in the development of this vehicle, through an in-depth analysis of the relevant EU directives. The knowledge I have accumulated in that project is still one of my passions. In my career as an independent consultant, I have written several articles about vehicle classification, safety of small vehicles, and the potential of smaller vehicles and car sharing. In 2021 I contributed as a co-editor and a co-author to the book “Small Electric Vehicles, An international View on Light Three- and Four-Wheelers”, as the result of my work as Belgian delegate in the IEA working group on SEV. The article I wrote in this book points to a new direction of component and platform sharing between small cars, quadricycles and e-bikes."
What is the best book you have read recently?
Luc: "The biggest eye-opener for me was the first book from Roland Duchâtelet, “De N.V. België, bericht aan de aandeelhouders” (1994). A couple of years ago, I was impressed about the similar analyses of the “Belgian challenge” in “De verzuiling voorbij” from Mieke Vogels and “Een zuil van zelfbediening” from Peter Dedecker. Currently, I am trying to make time to read Yuval Noah Harari, “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus”.
What animal would you consider your spirit animal?
Luc: "During one of vision quests, it appeared that my main spirt animal is an elephant: With a thick skin and a big heart, and no natural enemies. And elephants are really team players. In the meantime, I moved to the most beautiful town of Vlaams-Brabant, the village of the elephant. I also learned about my second spirit animal; one I can learn a lot from: The hyena. Hyenas too are very good team players, but at the same time, they think of themselves, and compete with their colleagues when the moment is there."
What is your favorite food?
Luc: "I love the better vegetarian meals, or meals with mainly vegetables and smaller portions of meat/fish, and very few carbohydrates. For example, the Indian curry in the mild version, or the Lebanese or Korean kitchen.
One of the strong points of the Blue Point building, where BEC is located, is the vicinity of the restaurant “Le Caveau du Max”, one of the first and best healthy fast-food restaurants. Another one of my favorites is “Table d’hotes Buls”, two kilometers away from the Bluepoint building, in the centre of Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe."
What is your biggest frustration?
Luc: "I am frustrated that most people do not understand what energy is and how we can reduce our energy consumption whilst improving our quality of life. I am also frustrated about many products that could be build, but that are not on the market, e.g., de one-seater car (consuming less than 2 litres/km or 7 kWh/km) with pedals, the electric stove with only one cooking plate, the workout laundry machine, … Many of these products would help us to save energy and have a more comfortable life."
What do you do in your free time?
Luc: "I often struggle with the idea of “free time”. Both in my professional life and my free time, I am working on saving the planet. I like to make long hikes in Belgium or nearby. (E.g., the Eifel). I developed some hiking trails myself in the area of Redu. In my “free time” I am active as a volunteer in some civic organizations, e.g., “Samenhuizen Vlaanderen”, UNIZO Druivenstreek, ie-net Brabant - Brussel."
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Luc: "On the other hand, I had a dream of becoming a pilot. But I discovered this kind a dream was related to skills I don’t have and never will develop. For a long time, mathematics was my first passion and my greatest skill. So I have been thinking of becoming a math teacher.
When I learned about the disadvantages and limitations of a job in education, I decided to go for engineering, a direction that give more options on the labour market. In my jobs as “lobbyist” for the car and bus industry, I also have to use some “teaching” skills."
What inspires you?
Luc: "I am aware of the need for a better understanding of physics and especially energy sciences amongst decision makers and the general public. Working on opportunities to reduce energy consumption, waste of resources and at the same time improving safety and comfort is one of my key drivers."