Sep 2, 2015 | By Alec

The automobile industry has been readily adopting 3D printing as a prototyping tool over the past few years, but very few 3D printed parts have yet been actually used in commercial cars before. That’s why we were very impressed by the radical new design concept of the Peugeot Fractal, which is set to debut later this month at the Frankfurt Auto Show in Germany. This gorgeous concept car is absolutely packed with futuristic technology and 3D printed parts, including more than 80 percent of all trim surfaces of the interior.

Of course, as many auto-nuts will verify, PSA (the company responsible for both Peugeot and Citroën) has produced some stunningly innovative cars before, but they definitely seem to be taking things to a new level with the radical designs for the Peugeot Fractal concept. In its essence, the Fractal is an uber-mini car intended for an urban environment, which is especially visible in its size (12.5 feet long and 5.8 feet wide). With a removable roof, this four seater also functions as a cool and sporty cabriolet thanks to a very low ground clearance of less than 3 inches.

But the engine itself is also futuristic in every way. Inside is an electric monster of a 40-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that powers two electric motors, for a combined result of 201 horse power – which Peugeot claims is enough to go to 62 mph in just 6.8 seconds. This is partly made possible by its weight at just 2,200 pounds. The two motors are placed at each axle for what they call a ‘through-the-road’ all-wheel drive system. Power is distributed depending on grip levels to optimize traction as well as energy recovery speed. Aside from all that, the car just looks amazing as well with a mixture of matte black and gloss white finishes.

However, it is obviously the interior that interests us most of all, where you can find the Peugeot i-Cockpit design philosophy. The car is filled with uniquely shaped surfaces and black oak surrounding the instrument panels, the doors, the bucket seats with hints of copper. But as mentioned earlier, more than 80 percent of all those trim surfaces are 3D printed, and not just in a way to maximize the innovative input. Instead, all have a direct purpose because the Fractal is intended to be an audiophile’s dream car.

What does 3D printing have to do with that? In essence, all those 3D printed surfaces have been shaped in such a way to reduce echoes and insulate drivers from unwanted sounds. Even the material used is intended to optimize sound experience, while 3D printed wheels on the car feature dihedral components designed to reduce aerodynamic noise. All that contributes to the audio setup embedded in the Fractal. Consisting of 13 speakers and a SubPac bass system, it is promising to a fantastic music experience. The bass travels right through the driver’s body, rather than through the air to optimize the experience and limit the interference from the surrounding environment. Finally, the high-end speakers have been designed by Focal and feature domes made from beryllium.

The idea is that you are essentially driving an almost blank slate that offers you a unique audio experience – even when the music is off. And for additional fun, Peugeot has added a ‘sound signature’ the vehicle, enabling onlookers to hear very distinct sounds signifying acceleration and deceleration. The Fractal concept car – which is exactly that, highlighting technologies to be used in future cars rather than being a car in its own right – is thus a look at the future. A future in which 3D printing is seen as a key manufacturing tool. If you’re interested, you can experience it yourself at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show on 15 September 2015.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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