Czinger Vehicles, the maker of electric hypercars built on the Divergent Adaptive Production System (DAPS) assembly line, announced what the company claims is the first 3D printed automotive gearbox case. Partnering with UK automotive engineering firm Xtrac, Czinger used topology optimization software to design the gearbox case, which was printed in a proprietary aluminum alloy.
Topology optimization software is often used in additive manufacturing (AM), and is increasingly combined with AI-driven generative design. Those who favor the technique use it to speed up the design phase and maximize certain engineering attributes, especially structural efficiency. Divergent Technologies, the parent company of Czinger, developed its own in-house topology optimization software, one of the integral components to the DAPS platform.
Xtrac specializes in designing gearboxes for race cars, making the company a logical choice of partner for a manufacturer of fuel-efficient luxury hypercars. In addition to the gearbox case’s reduction in mass and its complex geometry, the main advantage to 3D printing the part is that it doesn’t require the use of tooling, which adds to the savings in lead time.
Also speaking to the importance of software at Czinger is the fact that Divergent Technologies received a $100 million investment at the end of last year from Swedish software giant, Hexagon AB. Divergent has been extremely well-funded over the years. Prior to the investment from Hexagon, Divergent had already received a combined $240 million in financing and investments in 2022 alone — not a year when investors were generally very risk-friendly.
I think Divergent’s tech will have value regardless of how Czinger Vehicles does. That will remain a question until feedback comes in on the first Czinger cars to be delivered, which is expected to happen in late 2023. Even if they’re popular, moreover, the continued scale-up of production for a business model like Divergent’s/Czinger’s requires a constant steady increase of funding.
Luxury brands did very well in 2022, so there is reason to think that even if financing continues to be tough for risky ventures in 2023, Czinger will keep defying odds. Additionally, speaking of defying odds, if the broader market continues to be more resilient than expected, and there is a sudden resurgence of SPACs and IPOs, Czinger seems like the type of company that could do well by going public under the right circumstances.
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