Meet Strati – A New Concept Car
During the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a new car company, Local Motors, unveiled its new concept car, the “Strati,” a car built by a 3-D printer! What an amazing thing to see! The Strati is a prototype model, which should be available to the public in 12-18 months.
A good portion of the car: frame/chassis, exterior body and some interior parts, are printed using an extruded ABS reinforced carbon fiber plastic, while the battery, motor and electrical parts are from Renault’s electric car, the Twizy. Right now, the printing process takes about 44 hours, but Local Motors is hoping to get production time down to about 24 hours.
The Strati display at the show featured two printers, each with its own room, a completed car, a fender, and a “test” chair. The chair was part of the display so folks could sit in it, and test firsthand the strength of the material. As you can see by the picture, the chair looks like it would flex—but to my surprise, it didn’t move at all! The printed ABS plastic is extremely strong and durable, and heavy.
While they were printing the car on the main level, they were giving rides on the level below. Based on the number of people waiting for a test ride, I had to pass on the opportunity. Poor timing on my part, to my great disappointment! But, this particular car only had two seats, and they were just giving rides. A professional driver was in the driver’s seat. In past years, one could drive the electric cars around a little track; really get a feel for it. I don’t know why Local Motors felt they had to have a professional driver for this car. I mean, seriously, if someone crashed it couldn’t they just print up a new part and be on their way?