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Is This 3D-Printed Car the World’s Most Sustainable Automobile?

Why the LM3D might be the last vehicle you ever need to buy.

Is This 3D-Printed Car the World’s Most Sustainable Automobile?

Image via Local Motors

Imagine buying one car that could last a lifetime, not simply by being rugged and dependable, but by being endlessly modular and upgradable. That, in essence, is the idea behind the LM3D—a new model from car company Local Motors that’s expected to be available for sale in 2016.


The LM3D was created in partnership with IBM Watson, IDEO, Siemens’ Solid Edge, and SABIC, a thermoplastics company responsible for the car’s material. The vehicle is designed so that once a person buys one, they’ll be able to replace or upgrade any of the car’s 3D-printed components—which account for nearly 75 percent of the vehicle. That gives the owner the ability to completely overhaul the vehicle, piece by piece, as new parts are developed.

By printing their desired parts from data files at nearby “microfactories,” LM3D owners could ostensibly continue upcycling their car indefinitely. According to their website, Local Motors plans to keep developing its design in the hope of creating a car that’s around 90 percent printable.

Image via Local Motors

In terms of safety, the company explains that “early tests show promise that all crash testing will be complete by the end of 2016 including all certifications needed to get 3D-printed cars on the road … Our goal is to make 3D-printed cars safer than traditionally manufactured cars.” Elsewhere on their site, they write that they are working to exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards by 2017.

In a release from Local Motors, CEO Jay Rogers is quoted as saying:

“In the past few months our engineers have moved from only a rendering to the car you see in front of you today We are using the power of DDM [“direct digital manufacturing”] to create new vehicles at a pace unparalleled in the auto industry, and we’re thrilled to begin taking orders on 3D-printed cars next year”

The company is targeting a $53,000 suggested retail price for the LM3D.

[via springwise]

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