Imagine the body parts of a full size car coming off of a 3D printer. Stratasys and its development parter Kor Ecologic, a Winnipeg engineering group, did just that. Introduced under the code name of Urbee, it is the first car ever to have its entire body 3D printed by additive manufacturing processes. All exterior components – including the glass panel prototypes – were created using Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus 3D Production Systems at Stratasys’ digital manufacturing service – RedEye on Demand.
This prototype car should be one of the world’s most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. The electric/liquid-fuel hybrid reaches more than 200 mpg, highway and 100 mpg, city in U.S. gallons with either gasoline or ethanol. (250 mpg highway /125 mpg city, Imperial gallons)
The car is charged overnight for just pennies from any standard home electrical outlet. Alternately, it can be charged 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 150 mpg and costs only 2 cents per mile. This is only about 10% of the fuel consumed by a typical SUV. And on the highway, it costs about 1 cent per mile, or 95% less than that same SUV.
“Other hybrids on the road today were developed by applying ‘green’ standards to traditional vehicle formats, said Jim Kor, president and chief technology officer, Kor Ecologic. “Urbee was made with environmentally sustainable principles dictating every step of its design.
“Urbee is the only practical car we’re aware of that can run solely on renewable energy,” continued Kor. “Our goal in designing it was to be as ‘green’ as possible throughout the design and manufacturing processes. FDM technology from Stratasys was central to meeting that objective. FDM lets us eliminate tooling, machining, and handwork, and it brings incredible efficiency when a design change is needed. If you can get to a pilot run without any tooling, you have advantages.”