Aug 9, 2016 | By Tess

While concept cars or concept vehicles are often more imagination than reality, their designs and technologies can sometimes provide a glimpse into the future and let us see what cars and vehicles could one day look like and how they could function. Car manufacturers like Rolls Royce have gotten us excited with their concept designs for customizable, 3D printed cars, and now Mercedes has really got our motors running with their latest concept LMP racing car, which features incredible self-3D printing tires.

The concept vehicle is called the Mercedes-Benz DTW and was conceived of and designed by Martin Chatelier, a transportation design student from Sevres, France. The futuristic car, which bears little resemblance to racing cars of today, was designed as a concept car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2030, and with its air powering system, graphene body, and independent 3D printing tire system it has been designed to win.

Before delving into the concept car’s awesome integrated technologies, let us just take a look and appreciate its stunning exterior as well. According to Chatelier, the car’s outer body was inspired by the sculptures of Emmanuel Zurini, a Le Mans photographer who is also known for his vehicle sculptures made from pure, smooth materials. If the car’s shape looks a bit unorthodox, it definitely is, but perhaps the designer is on to something for the future of racing and aerodynamics. Details like the headlights were also inspired by other vehicles, like the F015 Luxury in Motion.

Of course, what got us most excited about the Mercedes-Benz DTW concept car were the technologies integrated into it. Notably, Chatelier has resurrected Tesla turbine technology which, in combination with two compressed air air tanks, is used to charge the vehicle’s two electric motors. Additionally, Chatelier drew from the 1950s Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR’s design with the integration of four airbrakes, as well as from aviation with thrust reversers. The airbrakes are also used for the car’s Aerodynamic Energy Recovery System (AERS), which captures air from the brakes and compresses it naturally for later use powering the Tesla turbine.

The Mercedes-Benz DTW concept also envisions the German car manufacturer as the first to create a chassis and cockpit made entirely from graphene, a material notable for its incredible strength (200 hundred times stronger than steel), its lightweight properties, and its transparency. As Chatelier writes, “Weight gain is breathtaking and the pilot’s safety is enhanced. Graphene has the distinction of being transparent, allowing the pilot to have a larger field in the cockpit without altering the structure of it.”

The final, but perhaps most exciting part about the DTW concept car, however, is its Michelin 3D Tire Print system. Essentially, the system consists of small 3D printer nozzles that are set up behind each tire which can spray gum onto the tires as the car drives, effectively renewing and changing the surface of the tire for optimal performance. According to Chatelier, the system was devised as a way to account for the long and variable racing terrain of Le Mans, and is capable of changing the tire’s surface with different compounds from soft, to medium, and even to hard, depending on what the road conditions are. This ingenious, but maybe far fetched concept, means that racing cars could adapt while on the road, without having to stop in at the pits.

While the Mercedes-Benz DTW is very much a concept car, and we doubt we’ll be seeing it on the roads anytime soon (until 2030!), perhaps the novel 3D printing tire system idea will take off and be further explored. Either way, this is a concept we’d go for!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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stevet wrote at 8/10/2016 6:05:48 PM:

lol, novel or stupid? Car looks really cool though! Too bad they didn't just use an engine powered by air then the regenerative braking would really be efficient.

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