3D-Printed Cars May Be the Way of the Future
Se far we've seen 3D-printed phone cases, shirts, buildings, human veins, braingears, and other random 3D-printed things. What's next you ask? Believe it or not, two companies have joined forces to build an entirely 3D-printed car called Urbee! Not only is Urrrrrrbeeeeeeeeee a super catchy name, but the car also gets up to 200 miles per gallon on the highway, and up to 100 in the city. Now that's innovation!
Urbee, a two passenger car, is being designed by Kor Ecologic Inc., using Stratasys 3D printers. Kor Ecologic probably chose Stratasys because their printers are considered cheap and reliable; I know that they're reliable because I have seen them myself and I know what they can make. But cheap? If you consider a $14,900 cheap for a small printer, then sure, why not, but I can't imagine how much a large 3D printer capable of printing car parts could cost.
For those of you who don't know, 3D printers are capable of some amazing things, they can not only print different plastics of different colors like ABS and polycarbonate, but some can actually print metal using a method called “EBM” or “Electron Beam Melting,” like those built by Arcam. Urbee does not specify what parts of the car are made of metal or plastic or which 3D printers were used.
Urbee is also pretty sexy; it has a low profile--the roof is only 40 inches above the ground, and it has half the coefficient of drag as traditional cars as well as a low coefficient of rolling resistance in the wheels.
The company is also trying to keep Urbee affordable. Whether that means it'll be affordable to Bill Gates, or affordable to average consumers remains to be seen, but Popular Mechanics states it should run around $18,000 to $21,000. But I hope that someday, I too will be able to own a car that gets 200 miles to the gallon.
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