May 1, 2017 | By Julia

New Zealand is about to get its first ever 3D printed electric car. Currently in development by Ira Munn, an entrepreneur working out of local tech charity Accelerating Aotearoa, “The Drop” is a three wheeled electric car designed for commuters. The vehicle will be motorway legal and have a battery range of up to 300 kilometres, making it the first 3D printed electric car by and for New Zealanders.

Ira Munn

The innovation began as part of New Zealand’s push to make electric cars mainstream: in 2016, the government launched a program to increase the adoption of electric vehicles. The country’s current target is to double New Zealand’s number of electric cars each year, with an ultimate goal of reaching 64,000 by 2021.

It’s an ambitious goal, but one that is readily achievable with makers like Munn hard at work. "It's a first for New Zealand and I'm really excited that New Zealand can have an electric car it can call its own," Munn told local press.

The entrepreneur made the move to New Zealand from the U.S. in 2015, where he promptly set up his business Ierospace. A chance encounter led him to Judy Speight of Accelerating Aotearoa, a local charity that supports technology education and development.

Munn has partnered with the organization ever since, an avenue he hopes will connect him to young people, who Munn sees as integral to the future of 3D printing.

“I think there’s a lot of creativity here in south Auckland that hasn’t been unlocked yet,” said Munn.

So far, the Auckland-based entrepreneur is well on his way. Munn has been developing the car for the past year, and thanks to the help of Massey University engineering students, the Drop was able to be manufactured using a 3D printer.

An initial prototype is expected to be ready by August of this year. Munn’s hope is that the full car will be available for the market by March of 2018, at a negligible cost of only $10,000.

Unsurprisingly, the maker is a big user of public transport, and is optimistic that more electric vehicles in Auckland will positively impact the environment. “I’m excited about Ierospace having a role in helping accomplish that goal,” he said.

In addition to the green benefits of electric vehicles, the 3D vehicle kits will also be built from recyclable materials.

"I want our footpaths for pedestrians to be safe from vehicle exhausts ... we'll be improving the environment in many ways," Munn said.

Munn will be showcasing The Drop along with Massey University's 3D printer this September at Conferenz's evworld expo in Manukau.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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