The first 3D printed electric vehicle (EV) was announced back in 2014 by Local Motors, and from that very first 3D printed EV, we’ve progressed to 3D printed electric skateboards and motorcycles, other 3D printed electric cars from the likes of Honda and Volkswagen, and we certainly can’t forget about the 3D printed, electric Olli bus. We recently learned that the Taiwan Automotive Research Consortium (TARC) has developed a two-seat EV, which features a 3D printed body and interior. The TARC 3D printed EV was recently exhibited at the Taipei Ampa / AutoTronics car and motorbike trade show at the Nangang Exhibition Center of the Taipei World Trade Center.At the trade show, the consortium set up a special 20-booth zone, called the TARC Pavilion, to showcase its technology R&D achievements; its major exhibiting themes were Intelligent & Electrified. The TARC exhibited 21 new technologies and products, and its “Experiencing Autonomous Technology” reality demo, at the trade show this year.
The TARC is run directly by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), with goals of promoting the country’s automotive industry development and strengthening international exchanges and cooperation. In 2005, the MOEA’s Department of Industrial Technology (DoIT) urged four research institutes to establish the TARC; according to Automotive Insider, there are now a total of six consortium members:
- Automotive Research and Testing Center (ARTC)
- Hua-chuang Automobile Information Technical Center Co. Ltd. (HAITEC)
- Material and Chemical Research Laboratories (MCL) of Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)
- Mechanical and System Research Laboratories (MSL) of ITRI
- Metal Industries Research & Development Centre (MIRDC)
- National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST)
The TARC, the most important automotive-technology R&D platform in Taiwan, has been integrating major industrial research institutes and technologies over the last few years, in order to develop EVs and key systems, as well as advanced automotive-electronic systems. The consortium aims to set up an integrated platform for automotive technological R&D, as well as work with local universities and the domestic industry to train personnel to set up these types of platforms.
The consortium’s new 3D printed EV is able to travel 60-100 kilometers per charge, and comes equipped with a 6.6kWh lithium-ion battery. The EV’s maximum speed is 60 kilometers an hour, with a maximum output and torque of 7kW and 44N·m, respectively. The TARC’s EV has a wheelbase of 1770 mm, and measures in at 2780 x 1440 x 1570 mm.
A common vehicle structure is a monocoque, but the TARC did not use this structure to produce its 3D printed EV, and the frame and body of the EV were designed separately. With the exception of the doors, which were manufactured using steel plate for safety reasons, the body and interior of the EV was entirely 3D printed using PLA.
TARC said, “It can reduce environmental load not only at the time of driving the vehicle but also at the time of manufacturing the vehicle.”
The lightweight frame of the EV is made of aluminum, with a mass of 98.7 kg. If the rear part of the EV’s frame is extended, it would be possible for engineers to produce large EVs, like three-seat vehicles and pickup trucks. Additionally, by changing the shape of the aluminum frame, it could be used as a bicycle instead of a two-seat EV. The consortium plans to increase the production scale, which will in turn reduce the cost of the 3D printed EV by 30-40%. The TARC has not yet determined if and when its new EV will be commercialized or mass-produced.
Some of the other technologies that the TARC showcased in its trade pavilion included a Cooperative Vehicle Positioning System and a camera-based Forward Object Detection System; you can learn more about these technologies, and the 3D printed EV’s Lightweight Modular Vehicle Frame, in the video below:
Discuss in the 3D Printed EV forum at 3DPB.com.[Sources: Nikkei Technology, Automotive Insider / Images: Nikkei Technology unless otherwise noted]