Honda creates electric car using 3D printing

Honda creates electric car using 3D printing
A single-seat electric car has been 3D-printed by Honda in a manufacturing process said to dramatically cut the cost and time of production.

The carmaker joined forces with Japanese tech start-up Kabuku to create the vehicle, which has been compared to the Renault Twizy in terms of size and shape.

Tokyo-based Kabuku is dedicated to finding new and innovative uses for 3D printing, which has already been used to manufacture parts for fighter planes, prosthetic limbs and even houses.

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But some sections of the automotive industry have also thrown their support behind the technique after US start-up Local Motors used it to create the world’s first 3D-printed car – the LM3D Swim.

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In Honda’s innovative motor, the rear passenger seats have been replaced with a cargo area that would make it ideal for use by local couriers.

Its micro-van design, which features a lightweight frame and bodywork, is said to be easy to reproduce and alter according to different specifications.

The manufacturer has not yet released full details of the car’s range or performance specification, though it is to be given its official launch at Japanese tech exhibition CEATEC 2016 next month.

Kabuku and Honda said that the car would be ideal for mass production, thanks to the ease and cost-effectiveness of 3D printing, meaning it could be serve several different purposes.

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Honda has previously experimented with 3D printing, releasing miniature cars that fans of the brand can download and print at home, with models including 1994’s FSR Concept and 2003’s Kiwami.

Estimates from tech firm Gartner suggest that sales of 3D printers are booming all over the globe, rising from $400 million to around $4 billion in just five years.

Local Motors’ LM3D Swim was financed through a crowd-funding campaign that saw famous petrol-heads including American talk-show host Jay Leno make contributions.

The technique of 3D printing is thought to hold huge potential for motor manufacturers, helping them to speed up production and reduce costs.

This could provide a significant boost to the UK’s already booming automotive sector, which made more than 109,000 cars in August alone, according to figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.