A Canadian company has produced a prototype of the world's first 3D printed car.
Kor Ecologic say that the Urbee is the first car ever to have its entire body 3D printed by additive manufacturing processes. It will be displayed for the first time this week at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.
All exterior components - even including the glass panels - have been created using Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus 3D Production Systems at engineering partner Stratasys' digital manufacturing service, RedEye on Demand.
Producing a car this way is more ecologically sound than traditional methods, say its designers.
"FDM [fused deposition modeling] lets us eliminate tooling, machining, and handwork, and it brings incredible efficiency when a design change is needed," says Jim Kor, president and chief technology officer of Kor Ecologic. "If you can get to a pilot run without any tooling, you have advantages."
The electric/liquid-fuel hybrid can manage more than 200mpg on the highway and 100mpg in the city with either gasoline or ethanol. It can be charged overnight from a standard home electrical outlet or by renewable energy from a windmill or a solar-panel array small enough to fit on top a single-car garage.
For combined city and highway use, the Urbee gets about 150mpg, meaning it costs only two cents per mile, say the companies. On the highway, they say, the cost is half that.
"Other hybrids on the road today were developed by applying 'green' standards to traditional vehicle formats, says Kor. "Urbee was designed with environmentally sustainable principles dictating every step of its design."