If you wanted to book a car, the simple process is to go to the showroom, zero down on the car, make the payment and then wait to receive delivery.
Now, delivery can take days, months or in some cases years, however, what if I told you, you can manufacture one in 24 hours! Yes, you read that right. But this one's manufacturing unit is a shipping container sized 3D printer.
In fact, it is the world's first 3D-printed electric car and is called the Strati. The Strati, to be what it is, underwent a four-and-a-half month process, from design to finish. This is a short time when compared to others but, according to Rogers, the CEO of Local Motors, the company behind the Strati, the timescale for future models could be cut to as little as six weeks, and the printing itself to just 24 hours.
The Strati only has 49 parts, compared to the thousands in an average car and that is because it is mostly made out of a single material - carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastic.
There are certain components, such as the engine, tyres and suspension which cannot be printed but other things like chassis, seats were created using a carbon-fibre reinforced thermoplastic. According to the people at Local motors, this material has the same strength as mid-grade aluminium.