In September 2011 first StreetScooter prototype was shown at the world's largest motor show (IAA in Frankfurt). StreetScooter, is not a "scooter" but an electric car which will be cheap, clean, and very versatile.
What's very special about this car is how it was developed. Rather than being the product of one company, StreetScooter was designed and manufactured in a collaboration by more than 80 auto parts suppliers, engineering firms, and electronics companies. None of them was large brands, and many were small to medium enterprises.
But how exactly does this work? The companies and research groups involved in the project were using an open technology platform to investigate the boundary conditions of a car development process.
The StreetScooter was built in modules (body, powertrain, electronics, and so on), and each company focused on their specialized area. Achim Kampker, a professor of production engineering at RWTH Aachen University, and managing director of the StreetScooter consortium, says this allows the car to be built more quickly, and to be highly customizable. If there is a disagreement between the groups, the problem is sent up to a management group that resolves it.
Sustainable, cost and innovation are the principles for this project. There is no doubt that Objet was chosen to be one of these 80 companies. Working closely with other group members, Objet has produced a 1.4m wide dashboard made from over 20 individually printed parts. Major parts of the dashboard were printed in the Objet ABS-like Digital Material for an exceptional toughness and dimensional stability. These parts were then glued, polished and painted.
According to Objet applications team leader Ido Eylon: "The principal challenge in producing the car dashboard was its size. Objet 3D printers have a maximum build size of 500 x 400 x 200mm, so the CAD drawing of the StreetScooter dashboard was broken down into smaller, printable parts. Eylon explains that Objet 3D printers build with a dimensional accuracy of ±0.2mm, adding "Even given allowances for gluing, painting and polishing, you're still looking at an extremely fine dimensional accuracy of better than ±1mm for the full dashboard. It was actually very easy to fit and assemble the parts."
The 3D printed StreetScooter dashboard will be exhibited at Industrie Paris 2012 from 26 to 30 March and the Hannover Messe from 23 to 27 April.
The StreetScooter has a target price of 5,000 euros (6,500 USD) except the battery. The batteries for the car are leased so the car owners don't have to be concerned about battery lifetime and recycling. Each battery provides a cruising range of about 45 km (28 miles) so they can simply choose how many batteries they need.
The vehicle is due on the German market in 2013, with availability in the United States coming at a later date. But StreetScooter has already got orders from DHL and German post, which will use it for short-haul deliveries around cities.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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