The world’s first 3-D printed car By Tuan C. Nguyen | September 22, 2011, 6:00 AM PT
In miniaturized form, it makes for a fine kid’s toy. But Jim Kor knows that when you’ve spent the last several years talking up plans to build the world’s first 3-D printed electric car, nothing short of a drivable vehicle will do.
Last week, the mechanical engineer, with the help of his design and engineering team, finally made good on his promise by unveiling a fully functional prototype at the at the TEDx conference in Winnipeg. Dubbed Urbee, the two-seater features an exterior body generated entirely usingthree dimensional additive manufacturing, a process in which parts are printed out layer by layer. In all honesty, the prototype can only be considered a partially 3-D printed vehicle since only the body panels were produced this way. However, the team hopes that won’t be the case with future versions.
Underneath the hood is a single-cylinder ethanol-powered engine and electric motors that enable it to function as a hybrid. A top output of 8 hp means that performance may be limited, though it makes up for this by offering serious fuel efficiency in the range of 200 mpg on the highway and 100 mpg when navigating city streets. It’s also built to last 30 years.