The Urbee has been an Automotive X Prize candidate and will be on The Discovery Channel's Canadian flagship Daily Planet. The car, designed by Kor Ecologic of Winnipeg, Canada, is an electric / liquid-fuel hybrid that will get the equivalent of over 200 mpg on the highway and 100 MPG in the city.
But it is also the first car ever to have its entire body printed out on a giant 3D printer.
According to a press release from Stratasys:
Urbee is the first prototype car ever to have its entire body 3D printed with an additive process. All exterior components - including the glass panel prototypes - were created using Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus 3D Production Systems at Stratasys' digital manufacturing service - RedEye on Demand.
The designers at Kor point out the benefits of Fused Deposition Modelling:
"Our goal in designing it was to be as 'green' as possible throughout the design and manufacturing processes. FDM technology from Stratasys has been central to meeting that objective. FDM lets us eliminate tooling, machining, and handwork, and it brings incredible efficiency when a design change is needed. If you can get to a pilot run without any tooling, you have advantages."
The implications for building prototypes are obvious; you go straight from computer to finished part in a lot less time. But imagine a few years down the road, when everyone might order up the car body of their choice from a catalogue and just bolt it on a standard chassis. Ding the side? Just print up a replacement.
More on the Urbee:
Goals of the Urbee Project:
1. Use the least amount of energy possible for every kilometre traveled.
2. Cause as little pollution as possible during manufacturing, operation and recycling of the car.
3. Use materials available as close as possible to where the car is built.
4. Use materials that can be recycled again and again.
5. Use parts and materials that last as long as possible.
6. Be simple to understand, build, and repair.
7. Be as safe as possible to drive.
8. Meet the standards and regulations applicable to traditional cars.
9. Be buildable in small quantities so we don't have to wait for it to become more widely accepted before we can begin manufacturing it for the public.
10. Be mass-producable so it can be built more economically once it becomes more widely accepted.
11. Be affordable.
12. Be visually appealing.
More X prize cars
Automotive X-PRIZE Competition Announcement at Detroit Auto Show
Cars of The Automotive X-Prize
Automotive X Prize Finalists Race to Top 100 MPGe