World's first 3D-printed electric motorcycle is light & fast, but it won't be cheap
When you absolutely have to own a personal electric vehicle that's right on the bleeding edge, you'll need to pass by Tesla and head over to Airbus Group.
When an aerospace company takes on urban mobility, the results are sure to amaze us, and if the recent work of the Airbus Group subsidiary APWorks is any indication, the future of electric vehicles will integrate extremely lightweight chassis and components into their designs, and probably include additive layer manufacturing (ALM), which is most commonly referred to as 3D-printing. While most of us are still trying to wrap our heads around the coming electric vehicle revolution, APWorks has taken a huge leap beyond conventional EVs with its 3D-printed electric motorcycle project, the Light Rider.
The company, which claims its Light Rider project is the first 3D-printed motorcycle, is probably not going to become a motorcycle manufacturer in the traditional sense, as it will only be making a limited run (50) of these electric motorcycles, but it very well could prove to be an inspiration and guide for those looking to 'break the mold' of conventional transport manufacturing.
The Light Rider, which weighs just 35 kg (77 lb), is powered by a 6 kW electric motor, which the company claims puts the power-to-weight ratio of the bike right up there with a supercar. Although it only has a top speed of about 80 kmh (~50 mph) and a range of about 60 km (37 miles) per charge, I don't think they'll have any trouble selling the initial run of bikes, even with a price tag of €50,000 (~$56,500), simply because of the cachet that will come with owning and riding the first 3D-printed electric motorcycle.
The frame of the Light Rider is made out of the company's Scalmalloy® material, which is an aircraft grade aluminum alloy that is "virtually as strong as titanium" and which allows the entire frame to weigh just 6 kg (~13 lb). According to the company, this is a weight reduction of some 30% when compared with conventional motorcycle production, and the 3D-printing process enables the use of hollow frame parts that can integrate cables, pipes and attachment points into the motorcycle's frame.