Urbee 2: The 3D printed car

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electric-plug-iconCan a 3D technology be used to manufacture a car? Canadian mechanical engineer Jim Kor and his team at Kor Ecologic thinks so. Kor wants to build the world’s greenest car, and he’s doing it with a 3D printer.

“What we like about 3D printing is it can print anything. And when you can print anything, you can think of everything,”  Kor said Oct. 15  during a presentation at the Verge technology and sustainability conference in San Francisco.

He’s already got a prototype —  the Urbee, short for urban electric — and is currently working on a second version, the Urbee 2. His goal is to create an electric vehicle for short city jaunts.

Kors cares about the environment and wants to solve the environmental-sustainability problem of the growing worldwide demand for cars. So he’s using a 3D printer to manufacture a car. Instead of a conventional assembly line, the Urbee uses a 3D printer and a process called Fused Deposition Modeling that sprays layer upon layer of molten polymers to create the car.

In addition to the 3D-manufactured design, the Urbee also stands out for it aerodynamic shape that matches a blunt nose with sharp edges to maximize airflow around the lightweight body.

Looking kind of like a sleek space pod, the Urbee won’t be available anytime soon. It weighs  about 1,200 pounds and rides on just three wheels, It’s slightly longer than a contemporary smart car and powered by rooftop solar panels and advanced hybrid engine.

Kor is a pioneer in 3D printing for automotive design. 3D printing is mostly used for prototypes and distributed production in various fields such as architecture, construction, industrial design, aerospace, biotech (human tissue replacement) as well as fashion, footwear and jewelry.

Seems like there’s a long way to go, but Kors plans to drive the Urbee 2 from New York to San Francisco in 2015 carrying two people, his sons Tyler and Cody and their dog, Cupid. He says it would use just 10 gallons of biofuel to supplement the electric engine.