An electric vehicle may soon be more affordable than you think
Thanks for large format 3d printing, new possibilities are coming
The main problem with bringing electric cars to the general public is that the price of these types of vehicles considerably more than the gas-powered cars that everyone buys. This leaves little room for purchasing incentive even among those who have strong feelings about minimizing their carbon footprint. While any people do understand the importance of developing more affordable models for consumers to drive in greener ways as we move forward as a human race, there should be real efforts being made to sway consumers by presenting electric cars as a new wave of not only function but also the form to make it as personalized as possible.
Large scale 3D printed electric vehicles are therefore different from traditional cars that are brought to market as you don´t need the massive resources of an industry giant to get going for the simple reason that the tool checklist that you require is relatively short which in turn is free to leave a considerable amount of creative authority to entrepreneurs. However, like all new technologies, the place to start is to offer modest vehicles that can serve as a platform for expansion and improvement after all one of the biggest problems with many industries is a tendency towards monopolization that through its very nature yields little room for creativity and niche consideration.
The most crucial thing to make not electric cars in general but all large format 3D printing vehicles a success is awareness. Ordinary people need to welcome it as a sustainable reality that is worth considering. It´s a lot to ask for when people are largely pleased with what they have and although many aren´t paying too much attention to the electric car market this may all change thanks to large format 3D printing impressive ability to bring costs down and speed up productivity which means that mass production appears to be right around the corner. One of the best prospects to be making waves in a while comes by way of China where a company that goes by XEV developed, alongside Polymaker, an electric car printed using large format 3D printing technology with a price tag of just 7,500. This very reasonably priced model that goes by the name of the LSEV was showcased at Shanghai´s China Large Format 3D Printing Cultural Museum and is poised to tour around and present itself as the world´s very first mass produced electric car that´s fully made through additive manufacturing. They’re after a big market, which is welcomed news from a country that is responsible for the greatest percentage of industrial contamination and may start to curve its toxicity output through innovative efforts.
The LSEV is set to be so affordable because of its miniature size that doesn’t require too much raw material. It´s a two-seater, that although isn’t the toughest car out on the road its carbon footprint couldn’t be smaller. Take for instance it´s small wheels that take little rubber to produce and as such are a whole lot cheaper than your average car wheel. In China, it is being heralded as a milestone product in terms of the adoption of 3D technology into mainstream production lines. Not an easy feat, and as such those come with limitations. The car offers a top speed of only 43 mph and a fairly modest range of only 90 miles. With cars of this stature, safety is also being questioned as the issues that may arise when behind the wheel of a 992-pound car are yet to be fully understood.
As we as a race try to find paths towards a more sustainable future we need to use the tools that are available to us to positively change the way people live in the day to day. Some may dismiss efforts like the LSEV as goofy and not worth the embarrassment that comes with being seen in public in it, however at the same time much of what we value today had humble beginnings. No one can deny that it has an efficient construction process. It takes less than a year, and in some cases even as a little as 3 months, to produce in its entirety.
The exciting part is that we may begin to witness the emergence of all kinds of new niche vehicles that have yet to exist in mass because the processes that have traditionally been in use would make their production at even the smallest scales far too expensive. Obviously, the first large-format 3D printed electric cars will be pretty small, but over time the market will decide what individuals are really after. The hope is that in the future electric cars appeal to the industry that would aspire to market them precisely because public opinion would be strong.
Eco-friendly vehicles that don’t cost an arm or a leg are one of the biggest niches just waiting to blossom in the industry and you don´t have to be a tycoon to get one off the ground thanks to additive manufacturing. A very promising model is The Drop, a three-wheel electric vehicle that keeps costs down to a minimum in large part because it is 3D printed using recycled materials. Priced at around 10,000, it is already on the market and is ideal for those who want to keep their car costs down toa minimum. While it may not be the flashiest car on the road it fulfills it’s commuting purpose quite well. This isn’t to say that you can’t take it on long trips at it features a battery life of 300 kilometers.
One thing that makes The Drop special is that its developer Ira Munn worked alongside students at Massey University in southern New Zealand, gathering their input to give The Drop an attractive design that speaks to our stylistic sensibilities. Large format 3D printed cars should be developed in this way, by passionate individuals who are asking and answering what type of car do they want to ride around in public, and not just what will sell most across the board.
The laypeople should be mulling large format 3D printing implications over in their own minds so that some of them may actually start to be fleshed out. People may have just been waiting to be presented with the right kinds of possibilities. One example might be a safari company that needs tough SUV´s to handle wild terrain, or a country club that orders up golf carts with very specific design features to compliment the particular attributes of their courses. For instance, if there are a lot of water obstacles that in effect serve to define the place they could incorporate aquatic features into the carts that play up this theme.
There are all sorts of questions about what types of cars have we yet to dream up simply because the industry thus far has been, pretty aggressively, geared towards family-based markets which has taken a certain amount of adventurous drive out of the market’s tires. While family friendly models are all good and dandy for making the safest vehicles, for groups of people there are other demographics that could make use of the specializing capabilities that new large format 3D printing methods. Experimentation is the cornerstone of large format3D printing, and within areas like electric cars this should be seen as the burgeoning opportunity that it can be.