Digital manufacturing service RedEye On Demand and its parent company Stratasys (NASDAQ: SSYS) have announced a collaboration with KOR EcoLogic to produce Urbee 2, claimed to be the first road-ready, fuel-efficient car built using 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, technologies.
Targeted to hit the road in two years, Urbee 2 represents a significant milestone in the world of traditional assembly-line manufacturing, says the company.
â€śA future where 3D printers build cars may not be far off after all,â€ť said Jim Bartel, Stratasys vice president of RedEye On Demand.
â€śJim Kor and his team at KOR EcoLogic had a vision for a more fuel-efficient car that would change how the world approaches manufacturing and today weâ€™re achieving it. Urbee 2 shows the manufacturing world that anything really is possible. There are few design challenges additive manufacturing capabilities canâ€™t solve.â€ť
The KOR EcoLogic team will fully design Urbee 2 in CAD files, sending them to RedEye On Demand for building through Stratasysâ€™ Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process.
This process applies thermoplastics in layers from the bottom up, yielding parts that are durable, precise and repeatable. The finished two-passenger vehicle will comprise 40 large, intricate 3D-printed parts compared to hundreds of parts in the average car.
The strong, lightweight vehicle will be designed to go 70 mph on the freeway, using a biofuel like 100 percent ethanol. The goal is for Urbee 2 to drive from San Francisco to New York City on only 10 gallons of fuel, setting a new world record.
Urbee 2, which stands for urban electric, follows in the tracks of its conceptual predecessor, Urbee 1.
Produced in 2011 as a partnership between KOR EcoLogic, Stratasys and RedEye On Demand, Urbee 1 proved that 3D printing could in fact produce large, strong parts that meet accurate specifications of a car body.
Urbee 2 will take the basic concepts of Urbee 1 to a higher level, including features like a fully functioning heater, windshield wipers and mirrors. It was announced Tuesday, March 5.