Fast Company

Exclusive Look At The Prototype of World's First 3-D Printed Car

The first Urbee rolled off the printing press a few days ago. Fast Company has an exclusive look at the sexy 200 mpg super-light hybrid.

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.

[Images: Urbee]

Reach Ariel Schwartz via Twitter or email.

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3 Comments

  • Andrew Case

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99
    HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would
    be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or
    Bestbuy. I sold a 37" HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24
    for. I use (Bidsget) . (com)

  • Wize Adz

    As a Fab Lab enthusiast, I've been kicking around ideas like this.  It's awesome to see that someone is actually doing it.

    What kind of printers did they use?  What materials?  The site is pretty vague.

    Being able to show up at your local Fab Lab and print out the parts, take them home, and assemble the kit, and have own useful commuter-vehicle in a week or so, that would be pretty awesome.  I'd do it in an instant -- I prefer to use machines that I understand, and a pile of custom-made CNC parts controlled by a computer that I had to program fits that bill pretty well.  :-)

  • Ralph Haygood

    About once a year, I learn of a technological achievement that genuinely impresses me. This is one of them. The car looks great. Moreover, if the technology is up to making a car, it's surely up to making a lot of other useful stuff that's currently manufactured and distributed in environmentally and socially unfriendly ways.