The streets in parts of Tokyo are very narrow, and the Toshimaya company had a lot of shortbread to deliver around the Kamakura district. So they went to Honda, which has been developing its Micro Commuter Concept for a couple of years, and to Kabuku, a 3D printing company to print out the body.
It is based on what Honda calls its Variable Design Platform, described in New Atlas:
This sees key components – like the battery, motor and control unit – positioned together so that they can be easily used as the basis for other vehicles. The chassis, meanwhile, is constructed from a rigid lightweight pipe frame structure... Under the hood is an 11-kW (15 hp) electric motor that gives the Micro Commuter a top speed of 70 km/h (43 mph) and a range of around 80 km (50 mi). According to Honda, the battery can be charged in under 3 hours at AC 200 V or under 7 hours at AC 100 V.
The platform is so flexible that it was relatively easy to adapt it from people to shortbread, with one seat in front for the driver and in the rear, where there are usually two seats, the space for boxes of shortbread. The 3D printing of the panels is so flexible that they could work the company's graphics right into the panels.
Who knows, in a couple of years we may all be able to order up a custom configuration of a car that meets all of our own individual needs, sitting on top of a standard cheap mass produced sled of a chassis.