There are many sides to sustainability, and 3D printing will one day revolutionize the way automobiles are built. The Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has debuted a pair of 3D printed cars that look like they were ripped right out of a sci-fi action flick like Judge Dredd or Robocop (two of my favorite movies, it should be noted).
Built for Shell’s annual Eco-Marathon later this month, the NTU Venture NV 8 is a concept for a futuristic urban runabout, while the NV 9 is a three-wheeler built to compete in the solar prototype class. Built from 3D printed lightweight plastic panels, the NV 8 weighs a scant 265 lbs minus the driver, and its builders claim an all-electric driving range of some 264 miles per charge. To stiffen the body structure, the panels used a honeycomb structure for additional strength, and a unique joint design bonds the whole thing together.
The NV 9 is even lighter at just 93 lbs, and NTU says it can go the same 264 miles per charge. The NV 9 was built to lean up to 40 degrees into corners for better handling, similar to the Toyota i-Road trike. Power comes from handmade silicon solar panels incorporated into the curve body surfaces of both vehicles, with up to 100 watts (0.13 hp) of peak power provided by the panels alone. While the NV 9 doesn’t have a quoted top speed, the NV 8 urban runabout can do a decent 37 MPH, plenty of speed for your average congested city street.
3D printing is becoming increasingly popular with automakers and consumers alike, with companies like Local Motors and home projects like the Urbee all aiming to revolutionize that way automobiles are built. If everything goes right, you’ll be able to buy a 3D printed car later this year, and important milestone in the manufacturing world.
Is this what the future of racing and driving looks like? Or has somebody been watching too much Blade Runner?