World's first 3D-printed car is affordable, sexy and coming next year
Local Motors says its 3D-printed ReLoad Swim and ReLoad Sport will be a 'neighborhood electric car' capable of reaching 35 MPH.
Perhaps the biggest downside of any new innovation in technology is the sticker shock. We all get excited about some new gadget or breakthrough, but that thrill vanishes when the pricing is revealed. Leave it to Local Motors to blow that rain cloud off of everyone's parade with the stunning reveal that their upcoming 3D-printed car will not only be available soon, but reasonably priced.
The Phoenix-based startup made waves earlier this year throughout the automobile industry after 3D printing a car during the Detroit Auto Show. Called the Strati, the two-seat concept vehicle was created in less than 44 hours and featured 212 carbon-fiber-reinforced layers. This innovative demonstration was done in partnership with California software giant Autodesk and Massivit, an Israeli startup company specializing in the printing of large objects.
At the time, commercial availability or pricing for a Local Motors 3D printed car was not specified. But the company wasn't content to just ride the positive buzz out of Detroit and keep everyone guessing. They just announced a winning design for their first model, the "Reload Redacted Swim/Sport," with an estimated price of between $18,000 and $30,000. According to Biz Journals, this low-speed "neighborhood car" will top out at 35 mph and feature user customizations not possible from other carmakers.
"You can drastically change the look of your car and make it track-ready, fun and sporty,” said Kevin Lo, a mechanical engineer from Vancouver, Washington, who won the competition. “With speakers on the outside of the car, I want the car to be the focus of everyone’s attention.”
Local Motors plans to sell their first commercial 3D printed 'neighborhood car' for between $18,000 and $30,000. (Photo: Local Motors)
Local Motors says the first Reload Redacted will be produced this September, with commercial availability planned for early 2016. A street-legal version inspired by Lo's design that meets U.S. federal safety standards will soon follow. In addition, the company is planning on rolling out a number of low-cost micro-factories around the U.S. to speed up production.
"At Local Motors, we are changing the way people move,” John Rogers Jr., CEO and co-founder of Local Motors, said in a statement. "Using 3D printing, we have reimagined how cars are created using modern manufacturing techniques. The results are astounding. We have reduced the amount of car parts from 25,000 to less than 50, proving that we can take a car from designed to driven in less than six months. That is the game changer in the automotive world."
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