Jun 26, 2017 | By Julia

Taiwan has just made some serious leeway in the 3D printed automotive race, this time in the form of a two-seater electric vehicle (EV). Late last week, the tech world caught wind of this exciting development from Taiwan Automotive Research Consortium (TARC), which is quickly proving to be a game-changer in the colliding fields of 3D printing and electric cars. The product of months of research and development, the TARC-manufactured EV was first exhibited at the Taiwanese trade show 2017 Taipei Ampa & Autotronics Taipei earlier this spring.

This miniature but mighty EV is equipped with a 6.6kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, and can travel approximately 60-100km (or about 37-62 miles) per single charge. Measurements stack up at 2,780 (L) x 1,440 (W) x 1,570mm (H), and the wheelbase measures in at 1,770mm. Maximum output and maximum torque are 7kW and 44N·m, respectively.

With a maximum speed of 60 km per hour, this Taiwanese EV won’t be winning the Formula 1 anytime soon, but what it lacks in speed and prowess it makes up for in sustainability.

"It can reduce environmental load not only at the time of driving the vehicle but also at the time of manufacturing the vehicle," TARC representatives told press.

This TARC car is sending a powerful message to the automotive industry: green has become a central focal point in vehicle manufacturing, and 3D printing may be the best way to execute that vision.

The EV interior and body (excluding doors) are made entirely of 3D printed plastic. TARC engineers elected to use poly-lactic acid (PLA) material from plant-derived starch, with the doors made of steel for obvious safety reasons.

How competitors respond to this nifty little vehicle remains to be seen. Material improvements could certainly be made, but the structural integrity of this little EV is impressive to say the least, and would present a challenge for anyone looking for build upon it. While the TARC car does not have a monocoque structure, which is rather uncommon for a vehicle, company reps state that necessary collision safety is realized already by the car’s heavy duty frame. Consequently, it’s possible to freely design the exterior of the body, thus opening up a world of possibilities for separate manufacture of body and frame.

For this particular prototype, the frame is made of aluminium, with a mass of 98.7kg. With a simple extension of the rear part of the frame, the vehicle could become a pickup truck, three seat vehicle, and more. Additionally, by altering the shape of the aluminum frame, the same composition could be used for bicycles.

Next up, TARC aims to reduce overall manufacturing costs by 30-40% by increasing the scale of production. That being said, the research group has not yet confirmed that the EV can be mass-produced. When and if this car will be commercialized remains a question mark.

The EV was first exhibited at the 2017 Taipei Ampa & Autotronics Taipei trade show for cars and motorbikes, which took place from April 19-22, 2017 at the Nangang Exhibition Centre, Taipei World Trade Center (TWTC). Tarc is a direct subdivision of the Taiwanese Ministry of Economic Affairs.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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