In what will be a world’s first, Local Motors, Cincinnati Inc., and the U.S. Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are teaming to produce a 3-D printed electric vehicle in September at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.
While it’s well known that 3-D printing is making increased inroads into automotive applications, this project takes the disruptive technology to an entirely different level. It pioneers the use of large-scale 3-D printing technology to print a substantial part of a full-size, functional EV.
It’s way too early to know how Ford, General Motors, and other established automakers could be affected by large-scale 3-D printing in general, or the “big area additive manufacturing” technology that Cincinnati and Oak Ridge are developing. The BAAM machine will reportedly be 200-500 times faster than most of today’s 3-D printers, and capable of printing polymer components 10 times larger than such systems. I suspect this tech could eventually be a double-edged sword to Ford, General Motors, and their big auto brethren, which we’ll get to. … (Read more)