July 16, 2014

Imagine a third industrial revolution where sustainable energy and manufacturing set the standards for production. Africa is then in the forefront when it comes to alternative and sustainable solutions. Swedish designer Erik Melldahl has recently designed an extraordinary Maasaica car for BMW, which is locally built in Serengeti using 3D printing technology, degradable materials and traditional handcraft.

Melldahl says his main inspiration came from the Maasai culture and new ways of manufacturing.

The intention with Maasaica was to create a concept that will evoke questions about how to best design a sustainable, locally produced car. Another aim was to question the methods and ideas of the conservative automotive industry. While Massaica doesn't give all the answers, it is a step in the right direction. As designers we have a great opportunity to influence a product early in the process. However, one can also see it as we have a great responsibility to do our best to design products for a better society. That is what Massaica is about. The name Maasaica comes from the Latin word for the lion species in Kenya, Panthera Leo Masaica.

The result is a contextual concept vehicle, which is meant for the Maasai tribe in Serengeti.

The main body is made of Mushroom mycelium/grass composite which is reinforced with a 3D printed structure. The 100% degradable composite can be grown in just a few days.

Since the lack of water is a big problem in Africa, the surface of the vehicle is a membrane, which is collecting fog during the night and making a self-sufficient system for cooling green house and motors. It will also collect water for the villages.

The vehicle takes advantage of the sun by collecting sun during the day with efficient solar panels, so that it has enough energy for normal usages.

The vehicle will be connected to a cloud which BMW has developed. The Cloud provides all the touch-points when buying the vehicle, during manufacturing as well monitoring the product's lifecycle to make sure there are no negative environmental or social impacts. BMW also licenses the blueprints to consumers so they can share the vehicle with their village.

Additionally Maasaicas tires are leaving tracks from a lion, because the idea of not leaving any human footprint in nature.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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Adam wrote at 5/20/2015 6:35:55 PM:

Even though the tracks are shaped like lion's tracks, they are still made by humans, so there is really no difference. Just my opinion.

harvey wrote at 8/9/2014 9:32:51 AM:

this is a silly car that will never be sold. really now? how can a african tribesman afford this car? If it is to be made affordable then would not the grey market buy it and send it everywhere cannibalizing BMW sales in other areas/ the cheapest car you can get and we are talking low cost bare bones is those Chinese dune buggy knockoffs. in terms of passenger capacity, off road capacity, durability and speed. If speed is not an issue a hand tractor that costs about 1500 dollars and travels up to 40kph will be much better

John R. Tilton wrote at 7/18/2014 6:15:04 AM:

I question the idea of having the tires leave lion tracks. Do we have any way to predict the effects of this on other wildlife? Are the human's there not part of the environment there as the lions are? And should things that in that environment not leave "honest" tracks? We as humans can understand the utility to others of us in having this mode of transport become available in such an otherwise environmentally friendly way that seems mostly pretty cool even to one asking these questions, but one has to realize that doing this will not be without cost to some other creatures there.

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