3D printing has taken the world by storm, revolutionizing the manufacturing industry as we know it. From machine components to guns, from furniture to even organs; this new technology is sparking innovation across a host of major industries. Enter Strati, the world’s first 3D printed car.
The world’s first fully-drivable, almost completely 3D printer-manufactured automobile has been built (or printed) by Local Motors, an Arizona-based company. Using crowd-sourced designs, Local Motors used a custom built 3D printer to create the car and assembled it over six days at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Illinois.
The all electric two-seater’s chassis and body is printed with carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic, with the only extra mechanical components being the battery, motors and wiring. The Strati prototype has 49 parts and took just 44 hours to manufacture, and can travel at a speed of up to 50 miles per hour. There are also a couple of storage compartments in front of the passenger seat. At the back of the roadster-looking vehicle sits a small Renault Twizy Motor, along with a 120 pound, 6.1kWh battery that can give you a range of around 62 miles. It doesn’t sound like a lot and truth be told, it isn’t. But unless you’re touring, it’s perfect for a cheap, eco-friendly way to zip around town and run errands. It also only takes 3.5 hours to fully charge.
At $18,000 and available from 2015 onwards, I doubt we’ll be seeing many of these cars driving around town. However, it’s an exciting stepping stone into what cars of the future could be like. Tesla is already leading the way forward in terms of all-electric supercars, and since the Strati is made from 100% recyclable materials, Local Motors’ CEO Jay Rogers says that upgrading your car won’t be a problem. They even expect to use larger 3D printers to print bigger cars, so a sedan or SUV is within the realm of possibility in the future.