Local Motors has unveiled the 3D-printed electric car it plans to sell next year. The design for the 2+2 coupe was chosen by the company’s crowdsourcing community from among 60 entries.
Reload Redacted – Swim and Sport was submitted by mechanical engineer Kevin Lo, who envisions a reconfigurable sports car that’s part beach buggy, part track day machine.
Built around a skateboard-style chassis that houses the drivetrain, battery, steering and suspension, the car features external speakers for the audio system, and removable front, rear and roof panels, which allow it to be switched between styles.
The composite chassis and body parts will be produced by a room sized “printer” that was developed in conjunction with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. An early version was demonstrated at the Detroit Auto Show in January, where it churned out the prototype Strati car.
The production version will be built at a facility in Knoxville, Tenn., but Local Motors hopes to add more locations in the coming years. It will initially be sold as a low speed neighborhood vehicle, with a price tag between $18,000-$30,000, but the company says that a highway legal version will be available by the end of 2016.
Local Motors business model revolves around the concept of “micro-factories,” where customers participate in the assembly of their vehicles. This puts them in the custom build “kit car” category, and exempts them from many of the government regulations that make it nearly impossible for low volume manufacturers to get a foothold in the United States.
But while it can take a few days to build its current model, the more conventional Rally Fighter, the 3D-printed car will have far fewer components — the Strati had around 50 – and should be quick to construct.
Specifications for the Reload Redacted, like power, speed and battery range, have not yet been revealed, but Local Motors is aiming to have the finished car ready for the Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas in November.
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