Hybrid Car Has Body 3D-Printed via Stratasys Technology

Stratasys has announced a development partnership with the Winnipeg, Canada, engineering group Kor Ecologic. The engineering group is creating a highly fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly motor vehicle, code-named Urbee, that is the first car ever to have its entire body 3D-printed via additive manufacturing processes.

In terms of US gallons, the electric/liquid-fuel hybrid vehicle offers fuel economy of better than 200 mpg on the highway and 100 mpg in city driving with either gasoline or ethanol. (Equivalents would be 85 km/l highway and 42.5 km/l city, or 1.18 l/100 km and 2.35 l/100 km city, respectively.)

The car is charged overnight from any standard home electrical outlet. Alternately, it can be charged by renewable energy from a windmill or a solar-panel array small enough to fit atop a single-car garage.

“Other hybrids on the road today were developed by applying ‘green’ standards to traditional vehicle formats,” says Jim Kor, president and chief technology officer of Kor Ecologic. “Urbee was designed with environmentally sustainable principles dictating every step of its design.”

Stratasys developed the fused deposition modelling (FDM) rapid prototyping process that was used to build the Urbee.

“Our goal in designing [the car] was to be as green as possible throughout the design and manufacturing processes. FDM technology from Stratasys has been central to meeting that objective. FDM lets us eliminate tooling, machining and handwork, and it brings incredible efficiency when a design change is needed. If you can get to a pilot run without any tooling, you have advantages.”

Urbee is the first prototype car ever to have its entire body 3D-printed by means of an additive process. All exterior components, including the glass-panel prototypes, were created using Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus 3D Production Systems at Stratasys’ RedEye on Demand digital manufacturing service.

A full-scale Urbee prototype was displayed for the first time in the United States at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in early November by technology partner Tebis. A 1/6-scale finished model was shown at the Stratasys booth.