Menu
Local Motors 3D prints a car at the Detroit Motor Show

Local Motors 3D prints a car at the Detroit Motor Show

The car chassis is built using a carbon-reinforced ABS plastic

Local Motors 3D-printed Strati on show at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 13, 2015.

Local Motors 3D-printed Strati on show at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 13, 2015.

The scores of new cars on show at the North American International Auto Show come from factories across the US and around the world, but there's only one that comes right off the show floor.

Local Motors is pioneering a 3D-printing technology in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory that squeezes carbon-reinforced ABS plastic through an ink-jet like nozzle so, bit-by-bit, an entire car chassis can be created. The carbon fiber gives the plastic a lot more strength.

Once printed, the body is milled and polished so it's smooth and then it's ready for the wheels, electrics and steering and motor to be attached. Local Motors is sourcing those from the Renault Twizy, an electric-powered city car produced by the French auto maker.

The process enables prototypes to be created much faster than with traditional fabrication technologies and is cheaper for small runs, Local Motors said.

The Arizona-based company hopes to begin commercial production of cars this year and is building micro-factories in Knoxville, Tennessee, and in National Harbor, which is near Washington, D.C.

The company's Strati concept took about 44 hours to be printed and consists of about 1100 pounds of plastic, which costs about $5 per pound.

In a test ride at the Detroit Motor Show of a car printed before the show began, the Strati proved to have quick acceleration. The track was too small for the car to get up to its top speed of 44 miles per hour, but it certainly seemed capable of the task. The plastic body appeared sturdy and didn't show any obvious signs of flexing or weakness.

The car's battery has a range of between 40 miles and 60 miles depending on the driving conditions.

Before the cars hit the street, they will have to pass safety crash tests.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Local MotorsAutomotiveindustry verticals

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments