Last month, Local Motors made national headlines when they made history by creating the first-ever 3D printed car. Today, that event has come full circle as the company has now released footage of the process taking place.
The vehicle, which is known as the Strati, was built (or printed) on the floor of the International Manufacturing Show held in Chicago. The process of printing the car took the company approximately 44 hours, but that currently being refined in hopes of hitting the 24 hour mark.
After the assembly took place, the car was then driven on the streets of Chicago, making it the first official usable 3D printed car. According to reports, the Strati can reach speeds up to 50 mph and has an electric range of about 60 miles. Yes, this car runs off of an electric motor.
Now, you may be wondering: what about all of the mechanical bits of the car? Well, those actually weren’t printed. Instead, pieces like the suspension, battery, and wiring were pieced together manually (I know, that takes some of the luster off of the whole 3D printed thing).
As unbelievable as it may sound, Local Motors is planning on selling models of these cars for somewhere between $18,000-$30,000. Personally, I don’t really see a market for this right now. I mean, that’s a lot of freaking money for a matchbox car that only hits 50 miles per hour!
On a more promising note, though, the company DOES intend to develop this technology further, stating that they believe the process could be very beneficial to companies down the line. Their website says, “The 3D-printed car is going to change the way car manufacturers create vehicles. By cutting down the time and cost to build cars, Local Motors has shown the automotive world that things need to change. This line of vehicle is the catalyst.”
What do you think? Is this a realistic future for car manufacturing? Or just an over-hyped gimmick?