Three years ago, Local Motors presented its 3D printed electric car, the very first of its kind. Since then, many transportation devices have been 3D printed, including electric skateboards, electric buses, motorcycles, and new car models from automakers like Honda and Volkswagen. The innovation of 3D printing shows no signs of slowing as the Taiwan Automotive Research Consortium constructed its own double-seated electric vehicle, the frame and interior of which was 3D printed and made mostly from aluminum metal.
Car enthusiasts were introduced to this new aluminum creation when it was put on display for the Taipei AMPA and Autotronics car and motorbike show, held at the Nangang Exhibition Center, associated with and in close proximity to the Taipei World Trade Center.
The consortium’s personal pavilion displayed its recent accomplishments in the realm of research and development, its 3D printed aluminum sheet car accompanied by over twenty of its other new products, which all emphasized the growing popularity of autonomous technology.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs owns the research consortium and is pushing for more advancements in the automotive field as well as stronger international ties. The Ministry’s Department of Industrial Technology encouraged several research companies to form the consortium back in 2005, and it now has six members that work together to find solutions to the many research and development problems institutions currently face.
The Taiwan Automotive Research Consortium quickly became the top research and development organization in the country, and to uphold its title, its members began to focus their efforts on combining widely tested technologies from multiple different sources. This experimentation led to an improvement in the way electric vehicles were created and how they functioned. In the near future, the consortium hopes to develop a collaborative space for research teams, domestic companies, and university staff, which could lead to more breakthroughs in modern technology.
If successful, the consortium could be advancing quickly in the coming years. Its new electric car already features a 6.6kWh lithium-ion battery and a 100km driving capability after a single charging period, reaching a maximum speed of 60kph. The construction of the car, as expected, wasn’t typical. All parts of the vehicle except for the doors were created with a 3D printer. This impressive feat, if implemented regularly, could cut down on the amount of time it takes to build vehicles. Additionally, the electrical nature of these cars would have a positive impact on the environment.
The 3D printed vehicle weighing in at 98,7kg is made primarily of aluminum sheet, the best material for the construction of cars, bikes, planes, and heavy weaponry. If 3D printer vehicles are produced more frequently, manufacturing costs could be only 60% of what they currently are. The consortium plans to do this, but it is unsure as to how soon.
Although the consortium’s 3D printed aluminum vehicle was the most intriguing of its new products, it also displayed its Cooperative Vehicle Positioning System and its Forward Object Detection System, both developed to create safer driving conditions. Most can agree that any new technology is exciting.