A U.S. company has unveiled what it describes as the world's first 3D printed electric car - a fully customisable vehicle set to hit the road sometime in 2015.
U.S. low-cost car manufacturer, Local Motors, plans on selling 3D printed cars in about a year, ranging in price between $18,000 to $30,000.
The company used Las Vegas automotive trade show SEMA to demonstrate a process using parts from a Renault Twizy, a 3D printer and carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic paste to manufacture a 3D printed car on the spot.
It took the Local Motors team just 44 hours for the team to print and build its car - dubbed the Strati EV - and the prototype model has only 50 components as opposed to normal vehicles which can have more than 20,000.
According to Local Motors Instagram, the company started in the wee hours of the morning today on day 3 of SEMA to start the rapid assembly of the 3D printed car. After 44 hours in the printer and about 10 for milling, the crew started assembling the car's vehicle components that were outsourced from the Renault Twizy.
"While the car was being assembled we decided we'd print some stuff for fun and made a few 3D printed chairs so onlookers could sit back and enjoy the show," says Local Motors.
The move means buyers would be able to choose a car on a computer screen, and watch a giant machine make the car in front of their eyes.
CEO John Rogers said that the 3D designed car will be recyclable as long as it has not been painted, with owners able to grind up their existing car into fine particles again and use the materials to make a new model.
The company also used SEMA to announce a competition inviting the motor vehicle aftermarket community to ‘hack up' and modify a 3D-printed vehicle, just like they would any other car.
"It will start with a design proposal challenge where 12 deserving gear heads will be awarded with a 3D printed car body to make their own. The ModMen Challenge will meet at SEMA 2015, where all 12 of the modified cars will be presented and judged, with one vehicle emerging victorious as the grand prize winner and title of ultimate ‘ModMan'", Local Motors said in a statement.
From racing, to street, to show, car modification has always been the true soul of vehicle innovation, said Local Motors Co-founder and CEO John B. Rogers, Jr.
Our goal is to fuel the next great generation of ‘Hot Rodders' by putting the newest technology in their hands, and the ModMen Challenge does exactly that. These are not just 12 cars customized with aftermarket parts, but a peek into the future of automotive re-imagination. I cannot wait to see how this group pushes the boundary of 3D printed cars.