3D printed Urbee 2 to attempt US crossing using ten gallons of fuel

3D printed Urbee 2 to attempt US crossing using ten gallons of fuel


Urbee 2, the first road-ready, fuel-efficient car built using 3D printing, is the subject of a collaboration between design firm KOR EcoLogic, direct digital manufacturers RedEye On Demand, and 3D-printing manufacturer Stratsys. Their aim is to put the 7 hp (5 kW) three-wheeled, rear-steering eco-hybrid on the roads by 2015, and then demonstrate its capabilities by crossing the US using only ten gallons (38 L) of fuel.

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Mr. Elon Musk, your next Tesla Model is waiting...

Brian H | 11 November 2013

TM is not into fuel efficiency; it's into fuel avoidance! No eco-mobile wispy glorified bicycles/tricycles. Real, usable, useful market products.

3D printers may well get involved, but a factory would likely require '000s of them running in parallel because the process is slow. Mass-reduction benefits, among others, likely make it worth using, though.

Rolandomartin | 15 November 2013

I have followed the development of the Urbee as I live in Winnipeg, very close to the place where they designed and built it.

I have a few things to say about the Urbee: The Urbee is an excellent university project or concept car. I am also a big fan of 3D printing technology and I think that is an amazing tool for prototyping.

Unfortunately the Urbee will never go mainstream. There is no way that the mass market would buy that car. Its design cannot appeal to a typical middle class family. It is based on the premise of using less fuel, while Tesla uses NO fuel.

Timing is not on their side either. Tesla is 3 to 4 years away of selling a cheaper electric car based on lithium air batteries.
Lithium air technology holds up to 4 times the energy density of lithium-ion technology. Biological electrodes (under research) can even multiply that threefold, so we are on the verge of creating batteries with a similar energy density of fuel. So anything that runs on gas will die.

Now the aesthetics... the Urbee has three wheels instead of four. Gagh!! The design? It looks like it came out of a bad Sci Fi movie from the nineties. As an Engineer I think they engineered it to have an optimal airfoil profile and built up from there. As Steve Jobs taught us, we create the beauty first and then we focus on the engineering.

Now back to the 3D printing thing... how do you guys see yourselves manufacturing 20,000 bodies a year on a 3D printer?

Safety? A 3D printed body does not seem safe in a collision.

In summary... Urbee is a good exercise, but we will not see it in the road anytime soon.

Captain_Zap | 15 November 2013

As long as people keep thinking and talking we'll be OK.

Brian H | 15 November 2013

Use 2,000 printers, then each only has to manage 10/yr!

Timo | 15 November 2013

That looks like side-by-side configuration to me. How is it so hard to understand that cutting frontal area to half halves the air resistance too.

Urbee-like vehicle could be practical if you think of it as covered motorbike more than a car. It will be even registered as motorbike. But it looks like whoever was behind that project does think it as a car.

And what's that about rear wheel steering? Uhhh, no thank you. Lifetime of driving experience tells me that if the rear slides you correct. I could not drive that thing.

200 printers to manage 100/yr. One every three days. Maaaaybe possible.

Brian H | 16 November 2013

200 printers would just need to do 1 every 6 mo each to do 100/yr. 200/2 = 100. I think. ;P

Timo | 16 November 2013

/ printer obviously.