Aug 14, 2015 | By Simon

As we continue to refine how solar energy is used to power the many things we use on a day-to-day basis, it’s only natural that the conversation centered around solar-powered automobiles comes up.  

While Tesla has already dominated the market with their line of electric vehicles, the electricity still has to be tapped from a reserve, rather than being self-sufficient.  Now, a team of engineers are actively developing a new kind of car technology using 3D printed parts that not only allows for a car to be self-sufficient, but also offer an unlimited mileage range on sunny days.   

Based on existing solar race car technology originally founded by Australia’s Aurora Solar Car Team, the Immortus from EVX Ventures is a solar electric car designed to generate its own power through over 75 square feet of solar photovoltaic paneling - including on the wheels.  

“Inspired by the world portrayed in post-apocalyptic movies, the Immortus is designed to exhibit a toughness that no other car has: endurance,” explains the EVX.     

“The ability to run on the power of the sun and store the energy for later use make it a car of practically infinite endurance. As long as the sun shines the Immortus lives…”

Because of the expansive amount of paneling and aerodynamic design of the car, the inbuilt panels alone are capable of driving just under 40 MPH for an unlimited distance on days where sunlight is unobstructed.

Because the car is designed to be as efficient as possible using available sunlight as a primary energy source, the Immortus isn’t designed to be a race car - even though it was developed based off of race car technology.  Rather, EVX Ventures wanted the car to be more practical with modest luggage capacity for daily driving and enough room to seat the passengers comfortably.  

Another aspect that the Immortus team has actively considered in the design of the solar car includes the ease of construction.  Rather than mass producing the car, the team designed it to be very easy to assemble - much like a model car assembly set.  Among other parts of the assembly include a carbon fiber frame, carbon fiber tubing and 3D printed nodes to connect the tubes.  

"We’re not trying to be a Tesla," explains Barry Nguyen, CEO and co-founder of EVX Ventures.

"Tesla is a mass manufacturer of cars, we’re designers of boutique custom electric cars and aftermarket products. There’s regulations in the US and Australia that allow for individually constructed vehicles. Essentially what that means is that if you contract a custom car builder with the designs and components, you can build a road legal car without the crash testing and the 5-10 million dollars you’d have to raise to do that. We plan to sell those cars in low volume."

Ultimately, the plan is to simplify the manufacturing process as well as reduce the transport costs, which ultimately lowers the total cost to the consumer.  

"The plan is to have these cars assembled by custom car builders close to wherever the customer is,” says Immortus technical lead Clint Steele.

“The custom shops can source their own carbon fiber tubing, and we can either send over the node parts made with 3D printing or send over the designs so they can print them locally."

Because EVX doesn’t plan to sell more than 100 units of their Immortus, their disruptive manufacturing and distribution plan just might work without a hitch - however the car still isn’t going to come cheap.  Depending on the final specifications chosen by the customer, EVX is expecting to sell the Immortus for an estimated $370,000 - about the same price that one could purchase most any other supercar.  However, the technology used is likely to come down in price over time.

Specifications include:

  •  Length 5 m
  •  Width 2.0 m
  • Height 1.1 m
  • Centre of Gravity Height  0.6 m
  • Wheelbase 2.5 m
  • Track 1.9 m
  • Total panel area 7m2
  • Cell efficiency 22%
  • Cell type Silicon
  • Battery capacity 10 kWh
  • Cell type Lithium
  • Peak output 2 x 20 kW
  • Nominal output 2 x 1.25 kW
  • Motor Type two hub motors (in the rear wheels)

 In an effort to help streamline efforts to get the Immortus production ready, EVX is currently seeking a $1.5 million investment and will be taking a scaled-down, remote controlled version of the Immortus to SEMA in Las Vegas later in the year.  

While we’ve seen a number of cars over the past few years that leverage the customization capabilities and low costs of additive manufacturing, we’ve been yet to see it be done in such a way that alway creates a radical new approach towards solar energy use.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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