World's First 3D Printed Car offers a new Future for Motoring
Tuesday, 23 September 2014
With self-driving cars and smart dashboards making their way onto our showroom floors, the future of motoring is already a pretty exciting place. And it’s just become more interesting: Arizona-based manufacturers Local Motors have created the world’s first fully driveable 3D printed car. Meet the Strati.
Over the past few years, 3D printers have come on leaps and bounds, and have been used to create everything from medical implants to selfie figurines, so it was only a matter of time before someone used the technology to create a fully-operational vehicle. While the original design of the Strati (which means ‘layers’ in Italian) took years to perfect, the actual printing process takes a mere 44 hours. What's more, vehicles made the good old fashioned way generally have upwards of 20,000 bits and bobs, but the printed Strati is made up of less than 50 parts.
Jay Rogers, CEO of Local Motors, believes that future buyers will be able to walk into his showroom, choose their own specifications, including the number of seats, and in a matter of days be driving home in their very own 3D printed custom vehicle.
Before you rush down to your local 3D printing facility to get your hands on one of these bad boys, though, there are a few things you should consider. First of all, the car’s top speed is only 40mph, and while the slower speed could potentially please your car insurance provider, it also makes it rather unsuitable for the motorway.
Thankfully, plans are underway for some extensive testing on the car before it becomes available for general sale (and before it will be allowed on the UK's roads), but Rogers is optimistic. Speaking to the tech blog Mashable he said, “Tesla made the electric drive train famous; we’re changing the whole car.”
Local Motors are now planning to sell a variety of 3D printed cars for between £11,000 and £18,000, with the first set to go on sale by 2016.