URBEE 2Road-ready URBEE 2 will set new precedent for building fuel-efficient vehicles.
A future where 3D printed cars are rolling off the production line may not be in the too-distant future.
RedEye On Demand - a rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing service - and its parent company Stratasys announced a collaboration with KOR EcoLogic this week, as the companies joined forced to produce the URBEE 2.
The URBEE 2 - which stands for urban electric - is the first road-ready, fuel-efficient vehicle built using 3D printing technologies and follows in the tracks of the Urbee 1, which was produced in 2011 as a partnership between KOR EcoLogic, Stratasys and RedEye On Demand. Urbee 1 proved that 3D printing could produce large, strong parts that meet accurate specifications of a car body.
URBEE 2 represents a key milestone in the world of traditional assembly-line manufacturing and takes the concept of the Urbee 1 to a higher level, including features such as a fully-functioning heater, windscreen wipers and mirrors.
The KOR EcoLogic team will fully design the URBEE 2 in CAD files, then sending these to RedEye On Demand for building through Stratasys' Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process. This applied thermoplastics in layers from the bottom up, yielding parts that are hard-wearing, precise and repeatable.
The completed two-passenger car will comprise of 40 large, intricate 3D printed parts compared to the hundreds of components necessary to put together a normal auto.
The URBEE 2 is strong, lightweight and can go up to 70mph using a biofuel like 100 per cent ethanol. The goal for the car is to drive from San Francisco to New York on only ten gallons of fuel, setting a new world record.
Stratasys vice-president of RedEye On Demand Jim Bartel remarked that the URBEE 2 means "a future where 3D printers build cars may not be far off after all".
"Jim Kor and his team at KOR EcoLogic had a vision for a more fuel-efficient car that would change how the world approaches manufacturing and today we're achieving it. URBEE 2 shows the manufacturing world that anything really is possible. There are few design challenges additive manufacturing capabilities can't solve."