A few years ago, a small team of engineers from Winnipeg, Canada, came up with the Urbee–the world’s first 3-D printed car (we covered it here). With a body made entirely by additive manufacturing, and a super-efficient profile–it gets 200 mpg on the highway–it looked to have a bright future. The Urbee is sleek, ultra-light, and different, and the media loved the look of it when it first appeared.
The problem, inevitably, was funding. Lead developer Jim Kor needs millions of dollars just to build another prototype and that kind of money is hard to come by for independent carmakers. Nonetheless, Kor hasn’t given up. To start on a second, even better, version, he’s set up a crowdfunding campaign, which is explained in the video below. He tells the whole history of the Urbee, the strong environmental motivation behind it, and why the vehicle is different from what’s on the road today.
Kor isn’t asking for the whole $3 million he needs. The Kickstarter campaign aims to raise $30,000 to publish a book that would publicize the project. Kor’s sons are planning a road trip with Urbee 2, traveling from New York to San Francisco using no more than 10 gallons of gas. Their aim is to have the biofuel-hybrid on the road by 2015, if the $3 million can be found.
See more about the planned prototype below. Kor says it will include even more 3-D printed components, have more power than the first version, and yet be even lighter. It would be a shame if the Urbee doesn’t make it to full production. Kor and his team have built something lovely and unusual, and have done so painstakingly over many years. Hopefully, they’ll at least have a shot at making it a reality.