Meet the world’s first 3D printed electric car, called the Strati. It is the result of a four-and-a-half month process from design to finish but according to Rogers who is the CEO of Local Motors which is the company behind the Strati, for future models the timescale could be cut to six weeks, and the printing to just 24 hours. This is a pretty quick turnaround.
The Strati has only 49 parts as compared with 25,000 parts in an average car. The key of this model is simplification. On average, where a car contains thousands of parts; the Strati contains only just 49 parts. This is incredible, but Rogers explains: “If you can make a vehicle with one material, you can reduce the number of parts massively.” These components, like engine, tires, and suspension, can’t be printed, but most of the car, from chassis to seats was created using a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic, which has the same strength as midgrade aluminum as Rogers says.
Rogers’s team are about to refine the process further so they can print different flexibilities or compressibility of the material in different regions of the car. This would allow them to create softer plastics for the seats then now, and compression bars that would increase the safety of the vehicle. He is previously stated that the car would cost between $18,000 and $30,000 but also said the price will drop. Eventually, he wants the localized factories to produce cars designed with their environment in mind.
Moreover, a small factory in Alaska could manufacture Strati designed specially for chilly weather, while another in Utah could produce cars suited for the desert. Rogers’s hopes that this principle could be applied to other industries in the US also, which helps to bring the manufacturing back from overseas.