For the key players in the industry, the CES electronics fair in Las Vegas is an annual opportunity to present the latest products and hot, technological announcements. During this year’s CES Show Rinspeed – the Swiss automaker, presented the MetroSnap concept electric vehicle. Importantly, the project assumes involvement in the production of innovative manufacturing technologies, including 3D printing.
According to the creators of MetroSnap is the next generation of automated electric cars, ideally suited to the urban lifestyle. The vehicle has been designed in such a way that over 30 of its parts, internal and external, could be made in 3D printing technologies – including Stratasys FDM and PolyJet (Staratasys J850). Elements that can be printed spatially include display frames, ventilation fitting frames, license plate holders. Elements adapted to the individual requirements of users will also be created using 3D printing technology.
According to the founder of Rinspeed, Frank M. Rinderknecht, 3D printing technologies allowed the creation of elements with non-standard geometries in a short time, which helped to accelerate the entire production process, while maintaining high quality.
As an example of 3D printed elements, the manufacturer gives sensor covers located outside the vehicle. They were printed from ASA material to make them resistant to changing weather conditions and UV radiation.
What distinguishes the vehicle from the options available on the market is its modular design, which means that the car can be easily adapted to the individual needs of the user. The basis of the structure is a frame (called skateboard), which is adapted to the so-called capsules, i.e. interchangeable cabin modules. Capsules were created for a variety of vehicle applications – they can act as a taxi, parcel vehicle or even an automatic shopping trolley.
Recently, an article about a similar, small, electric city car with elements from a 3D printer appeared on the 3D Printing Center. The Italian-Chinese company XEV, operating in the field of modern technologies, has launched a crowdfunding campaign on the Kickstarter platform. Their goal is to raise funding to start production of XEV YOYO – a modern car that, compared to standard models, is more ecological and cheaper to use.