US automotive firm Local Motors has announced that it aims to start selling the world’s first commercially available 3D printed electric car by the middle of 2016.
The LM3D Swim is the follow-up to the Strati, demonstrated at 2014’s SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Its chassis is roughly 75% 3D printed with a mix of ABS plastic and carbon fibre. But Local Motors plans to up this to 90% by consolidating as much of the traditional bill-of-materials into a single, 3D printed piece as possible.
Each LM3D Swim is constructed with less than 50 individual parts by one machine in a matter of hours, compared to the 30,000 plus parts by an assembly-line of machines that go into the construction of a traditional vehicle. Local Motors claims that this ‘microfactory’ technique produces a fraction of the emissions of large automotive factories.
The company says on its website that it wants its 3D printed cars to be safer than traditionally manufactured cars and claims that industry leading IoT companies have provided a range of connectivity and monitoring technologies that will help make driving safer and more efficient.