Thursday, 15 January 2015

Local Motors Unveils a 3D Printed Car at Detroit Auto Show

Local Motors is joining the Detroit maker
movement: The company 3D-printed an
electric car at the North American
International Auto Show , the three-
part printing process ushering in the
company’s midcycle refresh of its Strati.
The car was first unveiled at the
International Manufacturing Technology
Show in September.
Local Motors expects to ultimately
produce 30 Stratis and deliver them in
late 2015 at prices expected to fall
between $18,000 and $30,000, according to
a spokesperson.
It was previously reported that the Strati
uses a Renault Twizy EV powertrain, but
that will change in the coming months as
the Twizy bits are being phased out. “We
have to solidify the powertrain,” said
Local Motors COO Lee Herge. “We don’t
intend to make [powertrains]. We’re
developing a couple of platforms and
talking to everyone.” The Strati is made of
80 percent ABS plastic and 20 percent
minced carbon fiber and weighs a
claimed 1500 pounds.
The quick turnaround on its surface
updates is designed to demonstrate how
quickly the company is capable of shifting
its plastic production process. “It’s to
show its adaptability,” Herge said. He said
the refreshed Strati features a reworked
front end, headlights, taillights and
fenders. The
company showed the first-generation
Strati at its booth and offered rides on the
test track (more on that soon).
“We like to think of it as a Build-a-Bear
mashed up with IKEA mashed up with
Formula 1,” said Local Motors co-founder
and CEO John B. Rogers, Jr. at the
company’s Monday afternoon press
conference. Rogers also announced the
company’s plans to expand its crowd-
sourced operation. This year, it will open
two new micro factories in Knoxville,
Tennessee, and one at National Harbor,
Maryland, just outside Washington D.C.,
where the first 3D-printed cars will be
spit out, assembled, and sold. The
company also plans to open up the design
process via a contest in which 12 builders
will have printed products for display at
the 2015 SEMA show.


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