Local Motors Unveils Designs for the World’s First Production Line of 3D-Printed Cars

Local Motors, a company specializing in design and development of vehicles, has declared the winner of its Project Redacted challenge - a unique competition launched to challenge the co-creation community to design state-of-the-art 3D-printed cars.

Kevin Lo’s Reload Redacted - Swim/Sport was the winner of the competition. Besides its cutting-edge design, the entry demonstrated the various benefits of direct digital manufacturing (DDM), such as the capability of producing a fully customizable vehicle. The design also features a versatile foundation, which can support a range of styles and technology options.

Local Motors reiterated its capability to build DDM-based vehicles when it launched the Strati, the world’s first 3D-printed car, in September 2014. Local Motors used DDM in its vehicle production mainly to reduce the amount of tooling required and at the same time increase speed to market for highway-ready versions.

At Local Motors, we are hellbent on revolutionizing manufacturing. Car manufacturers have been stamping parts the same way for more than 100 years.

We now have the technology to make the process and products better and faster by linking the online to the offline through DDM. This process will create better and safer products, and we are doing exactly that.

John B. Rogers, Jr.
CEO and Co-founder of Local Motors

The winning design will serve as the basis for the world’s first road-ready 3D-printed vehicles that are yet to be named. Local Motors intends to build and market a low speed electric vehicle (LSEV) iteration, which is scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of 2016, along with a completely homologated highway-ready version later in 2016.

Local Motors Project Redacted uncovered. Meet the winning design of Project Redacted, and the design that will inspire the world's first fleet of 3D-printed cars.
Video credit: Business Wire

The winning design was selected following a rigorous voting process which involved the Local Motors community, and also a professional judging panel that included SABIC Senior Manager Geert Jan Schellekens; car enthusiast and former Tonight Show host Jay Leno; and SEMA Vice President of Vehicle Technology John Waraniak.

You need something that makes you go ‘what’s that? My top choice would be Reload Redacted - Swim/Sport because it’s sporty, fun and you can commute in it.

Jay Leno
Member of the Judging Panel and Former Tonight Show Host

In addition, Local Motors launched a fleet of vehicles called LOCO University Vehicles. Short for Local Motors Co-Created University Vehicles, LOCO is one of the company’s strategic plans to redefine the automotive industry by collaborating with the leading laboratories and universities of the nation. Going forward, these collaborations will amplify 3D-printing and other similar technologies by co-creating with some of the brightest minds in the country.

Three universities will take part in the program: the Arizona State University (ASU), the University of Michigan (U of M), and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV). U of M will handle delivery of the LOCO and will focus its efforts on development of autonomous technology. The LOCO would be used to develop an autonomous vehicles fleet. These vehicles will be used to transport students across the North Campus of the University and will also serve as the first-ever testbed for on-demand autonomous vehicle technology.

“Think Uber, but with low-speed, autonomous cars,” said Ed Olson, an associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at University of Michigan who leads the project. “The goal of this program is for us to begin to understanding the challenges of a transportation-on-demand system built around autonomous cars.”

Additionally, the UNLV LOCO will also focus on autonomous vehicle technology. The collaboration with Arizona State University will carry out pioneering studies on next-generation materials. The aim is for schools to deliver sophisticated technology in additive manufacturing to the Local Motors co-creation community.

The community will be working in the upcoming months to create and bring Reload Redacted to the American roads. DDM facilitates fast adoption of innovative technologies in vehicles. For instance, the Local Motors community has developed an electric powertrain test platform to analyze sophisticated battery technology, which will be integrated into the 3D-printed car.

In the test platform, the battery technology utilizes the same lithium ion chemistry employed in present-day iPhones and electric vehicles. Local Motors is already exploring other advanced battery options.

For instance, the company is investigating lithium sulfur battery technology that generates triple the energy while utilizing 50% the weight of lithium ion technology. Moreover, the electric powertrain test platform acts as a foundation to develop the powertrain which will be utilized in the 3D-printed vehicle.

Local Motors is set to be at the forefront of electric vehicle technology in the coming months.

Alessandro Pirolini

Written by

Alessandro Pirolini

Alessandro has a BEng (hons) in Material Science and Technology, specialising in Magnetic Materials, from the University of Birmingham. After graduating, he completed a brief spell working for an aerosol manufacturer and then pursued his love for skiing by becoming a Ski Rep in the Italian Dolomites for 5 months. Upon his return to the UK, Alessandro decided to use his knowledge of Material Science to secure a position within the Editorial Team at AZoNetwork. When not at work, Alessandro is often at Chill Factore, out on his road bike or watching Juventus win consecutive Italian league titles.

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