The Urbee concept vehicle has an interesting story to go with its sci-fi looks. See, the body was not built in the classic sense, but rather it was printed. Three dimensional printing has seen significant growth in certain markets, like with design and engineering firms looking for rapid prototyping. However, even very expensive 3D printers are limited to printing small objects that can fit in, at most, a few cubic feet. Stratasys, a 3D printing company, teamed up with engineering group Kor Ecologic to go well beyond these limits to print out the first ever plug-in hybrid where the entire body was generated by additive manufacturing processes.

The concept's technical details are scarce, but we can tell you it is an electric and liquid fuel hybrid that is apparently capable of returning more than 200 miles per gallon on the highway and 100 mpg city. No mention is made as to whether that follows any EPA test procedure or how much of that is simply electric propulsion – and we're all well aware that playing with numbers can yield some inflated mileage ratings. Does that 230 mpg Chevrolet Volt bring back any memories? Still, we applaud the engineers for some out-of-the-box thinking as all exterior components (including the glass panels) were created using Dimension 3D Printers. If you'd like to see this concept in all its ABS plastic glory, a full-scale Urbee prototype is apparently on display at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas and we'll post pictures from the event once we can track the vehicle down.

[Source: Stratasys]

PRESS RELEASE

Stratsys Develops First 3D Printed Plug-In Hybrid Concept Vehicle

MINNEAPOLIS -- Stratasys today announced its development partnership with Winnipeg engineering group, Kor Ecologic. The engineering group is creating one of the world's most fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles. Code-named, Urbee, it is the first car ever to have its entire body 3D printed by additive manufacturing processes.

"Other hybrids on the road today were developed by applying 'green' standards to traditional vehicle formats, says Jim Kor, president and chief technology officer, Kor Ecologic. "Urbee was designed with environmentally sustainable principles dictating every step of its design."

The electric / liquid-fuel hybrid reaches more than 200 mpg, highway and 100 mpg, city in U.S. gallons with either gasoline or ethanol (250 mpg highway /125 mpg city, Imperial gallons).

The car is charged overnight for just pennies from any standard home electrical outlet. Alternately, it can be charged by renewable energy from a windmill or a solar-panel array small enough to fit on top a single-car garage.

For combined city and highway use, the Urbee gets about 150 mpg and costs only 2 cents per mile. This is only about 10 percent of the fuel consumed by a typical SUV. And on the highway, it costs about 1 cent per mile, or 95 percent less than that same SUV.

"Urbee is the only practical car we're aware of that can run solely on renewable energy," says Kor. "Our goal in designing it was to be as 'green' as possible throughout the design and manufacturing processes. FDM technology from Stratasys has been central to meeting that objective. FDM lets us eliminate tooling, machining, and handwork, and it brings incredible efficiency when a design change is needed. If you can get to a pilot run without any tooling, you have advantages."

Urbee is the first prototype car ever to have its entire body 3D printed with an additive process. All exterior components – including the glass panel prototypes – were created using Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus 3D Production Systems at Stratasys' digital manufacturing service – RedEye on Demand.

The Urbee competed in the 2010 X-Prize Competition, and its development has been chronicled by the Discovery Channel's Daily Planet, for future broadcast. A full-scale Urbee prototype will be displayed for the first time in the U.S. at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nov. 2-5 at technology partner, Tebis, booth number 10204. A 1/6 scale finished model will be displayed at the Stratasys booth number 23821.

Urbee is just one example of FDM being used for ecologically friendly initiatives. In the UK, Gordon Murray Design, used Fortus 3D Production Systems to help create its avant-garde T.25 city 'eco car,' which was unveiled this July.

For more details on Stratasys FDM systems and services, visit the Stratasys Web site at www.stratasys.com, or call 1-800-480-3548 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-800-480-3548 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Stratasys, Inc., Minneapolis, is a maker of additive manufacturing machines for prototyping and producing plastic parts. The company markets under the brands Dimension 3D Printers and Fortus 3D Production Systems. The company also operates RedEye On Demand, a digital manufacturing service for prototypes and production parts. According to Wohlers Report 2010, Stratasys supplied more additive manufacturing systems in 2009 than any other manufacturer, making it the unit market leader for the eighth consecutive year. Stratasys patented and owns the process known as FDM.® The process creates functional prototypes and manufactured goods directly from any 3D CAD program, using high-performance industrial thermoplastics. The company holds more than 285 granted or pending additive manufacturing patents globally. Stratasys products are used in the aerospace, defense, automotive, medical, business & industrial equipment, education, architecture, and consumer-product industries. Online at: www.Stratasys.com.

Stratasys, Dimension, and Fortus are registered trademarks, and RedEye On Demand is a trademark of Stratasys, Inc.

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