In September 2014, Jay Rogers surprised the world when he drove his new electric car to the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago. The two-seater EV was created using a 3D Printer which Rogers says developed the vehicle in just 44 hours! The Strati is the world’s first 3D printer car. While the entire process took four and a half months, Rogers believes future models could be created in 6 weeks with the actual printing time cut to 24 hours.
Strati Electric Car – A Simple Success
Simplicity is the key to the Strati’s success; while the average car has thousands of parts, the Strati has just 49. Rogers, the CEO of Local Motors, believes that if a car can be made from the same material, it will be relatively easy to reduce the number of necessary parts. The majority of a car, including seats and the chassis, can be made using a 3D printer though it cannot create suspension, tyres and the engine.
Strati Electric Car. Image: Google UK
The material used to make the Strati is carbon-fibre reinforced thermoplastic which is as strong as mid-level aluminium according to Rogers. At present, the Local Motors team are refining the process to make it possible to print different flexibilities and other innovations in varying parts of the car. This would allow them to create compression bars for improved safety or softer plastic for the seats.
Rogers claims the new vehicle will be on the road by the end of 2015 and while he initially said it would cost between $17,000 (£11,500) and $31,000 (£20,000), he says the price will fall. He hopes to see localised factories creating cars designed with their environment in mind. For instance, a factory in a cold region could develop Stratis to suit the icy climate while a Nevada factory could create cars to cope with the desert. Rogers also hopes this principle can be applied to all industries which would help reduce the amount of overseas manufacturing companies in the United States.