3D Printed Car Will Set New Standard for Fuel Efficiency

urbee, 3d printing, stratasys
The URBEE CAR of Kor EcoLogic; features 40 large, intricate 3D printed parts

Are you driving a 3D printed car? Two years from now, your answer might be yes.

Articles about 3D printing have long talked about printing cars – except they were small, scale model cars. Now, KOR EcoLogic has announced a plan to produce Urbee 2, the first road-ready, fuel-efficient car built using 3D printing.

The project is in collaboration with RedEye On Demand, a rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing service, whose parent company is Stratasys. Once the KOR EcoLogic team completes the vehicle’s design using CAD software, a Stratasys 3D Printer will build the car using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Technology.

The Urbee 2 project builds upon its conceptual predecessor, Urbee, and is scheduled to be on the road in two years. The car will hold two passengers and will be made of 40 large 3D printed parts, in comparison with the hundreds of parts that compose the average car.

The first road trip is scheduled from San Francisco to New York City, with the goal of only using 10 gallons of a biofuel, such as 100 percent ethanol. Besides being an amazing way to travel across the country, this will set a new world record.

(Photo: KOR EcoLogic)


  • Brandino
    04.29.13 | 8:30PM

    Fascinating. But where’s the picture?

  • Christie
    05.01.13 | 12:49AM

    I wonder what would happen if such a car were to get pelted by a hail storm…or to be sideswiped by an 18-wheeler?

    • eec
      12.13.13 | 2:05AM

      break like a regular

    • Andrew Ihegbu
      12.21.13 | 8:06AM

      Not all plastic is as weak as the stuff that makes the spoons you feed your kids with, and not all 3D printers only print plastic.

  • Christie
    05.01.13 | 12:57AM

    And no doubt, I wonder how efficient the A/C and heater will be to boot!

  • Bruzote
    07.18.13 | 10:37PM

    The car probably has a few parts made in 3-D, not all. You can imagine why many processes, like manufacturing a car, would have many manufacturing methods that can be more suitable than printing. I think people are starting to lose their view of the forest as they look at the trees.

    • Mike Creagh
      12.10.13 | 5:37PM

      I agree. If the thing is going to be mass produced then most things will be made the traditional way with moulds and formers etc. Many,many times quicker than 3D printing and the surface is smooth and ready for painting. Just because we have a new technology doesn’t mean it is better than the old. 3D printers are good for small batches or one-offs where the tooling cost using conventional methods would be prohibitive. I can see it happening on F1 cars however with a new nose costing £100,000.

      • Ross
        12.20.13 | 4:01PM

        Just because the first 3d printers are not perfect doesn’t not mean its bad idea, yes the surface is not 100% smooth but depends on the printing method but traditional methods use a lot of labour to make moulds and waste the models but give 3d printing a chance as it will get faster and more resolution and it uses a lot less labour to 3d print than traditional outsourcing and ship parts all over the world to build a car or a plane or so on. As there is lots of waste in the traditional approach and a lot of behind closed door in big company’s so kill’s innovation but if 3d printing gives building cars to the people then there will be a bigger pool of innovation as fresh new minds can explore without huge costs.

    • Patanjali
      12.15.13 | 9:27AM

      3D printing can produce some parts that might ordinarily be a sub-assembly of parts using several moulds. This can lead to savings in assembly time.

      Whether it works for mass production is another thing, but I suspect that at this time, such cars are not going to be mass produced, but built to order, in which case, 3D printing is going to be a lot cheaper to make.

      3DP also allows for shorter improvement cycles, as a change can be tested with the next printout from the CAD file, rather than waiting for moulds to be made, a short manufacturing run, and assembly as well.

      While 3DP cars may be a novelty on the road, using 3DP to rapidly iterate prototypes will make car manufacturers more competitive as it will lower their development costs and time-to-market, even if they convert their designs to conventional processes for mass production. 3DP can also mean that they don’t need to keep big inventories of spare parts, but just make them to order, which touches upon the question asked about spare parts for vintage cars.

      3DP will really help those specialist vehicle makers (like for rail and construction) that have short runs or to order, but who have had to charge a premium just to cover their development costs.

  • anon
    07.27.13 | 8:18AM

    and yet they cut down rainforests to plant more crops to make biofuels.

    • Patanjali
      12.15.13 | 8:04AM

      They don’t use rainforests, but quick-growing plantations trees or crops like sugar cane, or recycle food waste.
      You will have to try better FUD than that!

  • Dave
    07.29.13 | 5:54PM

    click the urbee2 link in the text for website and video.

  • Inane Grin
    12.03.13 | 5:00PM

    I once made a wooden car: Wooden windows, wooden wheels, wooden engine – it wooden go! [Applause, I thank you]

    • ray joyce
      12.19.13 | 2:12AM


      • David Rosslyn-Smith
        01.28.14 | 8:58PM

        Rather like my Rolls-Canardly – Rolls down one hill and can ‘ardly get up the next !!

  • chris
    12.07.13 | 9:25PM

    just had a thought, why not use 3d printers to print out parts for classic cars?

  • Zteev
    12.11.13 | 12:23PM

    Light weight cars are great idea for economy but bad idea in windy weather

  • you daddy mom
    01.27.14 | 11:38PM

    dats awesome bros

  • david
    02.16.14 | 3:49AM

    imagine making a 68 model mustang without the need to rummage through parts bins or ordering a replica part from off shore, you just print it. start the engine and drive away. this will be serious game changer for manufacturing.

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