The Urbee 2 is strong as steel, half the weight of a conventional vehicle, and can be manufactured in a warehouse full of plastic-spraying 3D printers. The teardrop-shaped 3D-printed car is an ecologically sound hybrid, and it looks cool, too. Aerodynamic and futuristic, this car could be a total game-changer for the automobile industry, leading to a rise of small-batch automakers.
The three-wheel, two-passenger prototype vehicle with a generously sized, curved transparent roof (also made of plastic) was constructed by Kor Ecologic at RedEye, an on-demand 3D-printing facility with a Fused Deposition Modeling printer that sprays molten polymer one microscopic layer at a time to create the desired shape. The whole car takes about 2,500 hours to manufacture, but the process is fully automated.
The Urbee 2 3D-printed car’s light weight makes it so fuel-efficient, creator Jim Kor aims to make it from San Francisco to New York City on ten gallons of gas. Kor Ecologic’s design ideals for the project include causing as little pollution as possible during manufacturing, operation and recycling of the car, using local or regional and/or recyclable materials whenever possible, and making it affordable.
You might wonder just how safe a plastic car can really be, but Kor is aiming high in that department, too. The bumpers will be just as strong as their sheet-metal equivalents. The final goal for the Urbee is not just to exceed all current automotive safety standards, but be able to pass the tech inspection required for race cars.