Last year, Stratasys and Kor Ecologic teamed up to develop the first 3-D printed car--a vehicle that has its entire body 3-D printed layer by layer until a finished product emerges. The Urbee was just a partially completed prototype when we first wrote about it last year. But now the completed prototype is ready, and the Urbee team gave Fast Company an exclusive look at the finished product.
The prototype, unveiled a few days ago at the TEDx Winnipeg event, is a two-passenger, single-cylinder, eight-horsepower vehicle. That means it has significantly less power than today's vehicles, which usually have at least 68 horsepower. But those missing horses don't matter: the Urbee requires just an eighth of the energy of conventional cars. The electric-ethanol hybrid is also designed to get up to 200 mpg on the highway and 100 mpg in city conditions--and it lasts up to 30 years.
The first Urbee prototype may be finished, but that doesn't mean you'll be driving around in a 3-D printed car anytime soon. The Urbee team still has to raise cash (at least $1 million) for a second prototype. And once the car is ready for production, it will cost between $30,000 and $50,000. The price should drop significantly when the vehicle is mass produced, however, especially since 3-D printing is both cheaper and faster than traditional moulding.