If there were not some traditional mechanical elements, such as the heat engine with generator function, the electric unit, the suspensions and the tubular frame, the Urbee2 two-seater car could be sold ‘enclosed’ simply in a USB pedrive. Instead, the Urbee2 is an autom and was “born” inside a Stratasys printer (the same company that collaborated with Bentley, Bmw, Ducati, Jaguar, Lamborghini and Hyundai) using the principle of stratified electrodeposition of the material and for single piece widths, up to 1,000 millimeters. To build the bodywork and the other structural elements of the Urbee2 (there is a total of 40 pieces) digital drawing and a 3D printer are enough, that is, capable of transforming the project data into a thermoplastic object, ready for painting and assembly.
Developed on the original idea of Kor (the first Urbee in 1996), this latest edition of urban electric demonstrates how simplification, combined with 3D printing technology, can allow not only a reduction in the costs of making the prototype – we are talking about 50 thousand dollars for the complete car – but also a reduction in weight and an optimization of aerodynamics that are the basis of the performance of this electric car with heat generator. Urbee2 weighs only 544 kg in running order and boasts a Cx of just 0.15.
To push it on its three wheels (only the central rear one is traction) up to a speed of 112 km / h, very little energy is needed, that generated by the small thermal engine that burns bio-ethanol and which – in the projects of Jim Kor and his collaborators – will allow the first car daughter of a 3D printer to cross the United States coast to coast for 4,676 km, consuming just 38 liters of fuel, equal to a distance of 123 km per liter. Professional 3D printers – such as those used by the Urbee2 inventor, the Austin, Texas mechanical engineer, Jim Kor – are certainly not found in the local copy shop, but the process of ‘prototyping’ using this type of equipment is already common for some years in the large automotive industries.