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Stratasys Partners on Urbee Hybrid Car with 3D Printed Body

By DE Editors

Stratasys has announced its development partnership with Winnipeg engineering group, Kor Ecologic. The engineering group is creating one of the world’s most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. Code-named, Urbee, it is the first car ever to have its entire body 3D printed by additive manufacturing processes, according to the company.

Stratasys Partners on Urbee Hybrid Car with 3D Printed Body
An unfinished full-scale prototype, along with this 1/6 scale finished model of the Urbee is being displayed at the SEMA automotive show in Las Vegas.

The electric/liquid-fuel hybrid reaches more than 200 mpg, highway and 100 mpg, city in U.S. gallons with either gasoline or ethanol.

The car is intended to be charged overnight from any standard home electrical outlet. Alternately, it can be charged by renewable energy from a windmill or a solar-panel array small enough to fit on top a single-car garage.

Stratasys Partners on Urbee Hybrid Car with 3D Printed Body

For combined city and highway use, the Urbee gets about 150 mpg and costs 2 cents per mile. This is only about 10% of the fuel consumed by a typical SUV, according to Kor Ecologic. And on the highway, it costs about 1 cent per mile.

“Other hybrids on the road today were developed by applying ‘green’ standards to traditional vehicle formats,” says Jim Kor, president and chief technology officer, Kor Ecologic. “Urbee was designed with environmentally sustainable principles dictating every step of its design.

“Urbee is the only practical car we’re aware of that can run solely on renewable energy,” says Kor. “Our goal in designing it was to be as ‘green’ as possible throughout the design and manufacturing processes. FDM technology from Stratasys has been central to meeting that objective. FDM lets us eliminate tooling, machining, and handwork, and it brings incredible efficiency when a design change is needed. If you can get to a pilot run without any tooling, you have advantages.”

All exterior components—including the glass panel prototypes—were created using Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus 3D Production Systems at Stratasys’ digital manufacturing service, RedEye on Demand.

The Urbee competed in the 2010 X-Prize Competition, and its development has been chronicled by the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, for future broadcast. A full-scale Urbee prototype will be displayed for the first time in the U.S. at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas this week.

Urbee is just one example of FDM being used for ecologically friendly initiatives. In the UK, Gordon Murray Design used Fortus 3D Production Systems to help create its avant-garde T.25 city “eco car,” which was unveiled this July.

For more information, visit Stratasys.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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