Local Motors Debuts The World’s First 3D-Printed Electric Car Series

Local Motors LM3D-swim
LM3D Swim outside Local Motors headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz. (Photo: Business Wire)

Less than four months after revealing designs for the next-generation 3D-printed electric car, Local Motors unveiled the LM3D Swim, the latest rapid vehicle iteration leading to a fully homologated 3D-printed vehicle, designed to be safe, smart and sustainable. The disruptive auto manufacturer will begin pre-selling models in spring 2016.

Local Motors, which stunned the automotive industry by live-printing the world’s first 3D-printed electric car at SEMA last year, is now moving into intensive testing and development phases that will culminate with a road-ready, fully homologated series of cars built using direct digital manufacturing (DDM), of which 3D printing is a part.

Debuting at the SEMA show in Las Vegas this year, the LM3D Swim was designed by Kevin Lo, a Local Motors community member who won the company’s Project Redacted challenge in July. The winning design was chosen by community votes and a judging panel that included former Tonight Show host Jay Leno and SEMA Vice President of Vehicle Technology John Waraniak. That competition was hosted on Local Motors’ co-creation platform, Open IO, with the goal of identifying designs for the next generation of 3D-printed cars.

“In the past few months our engineers have moved from only a rendering to the car you see in front of you today,” Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers told the crowd at SEMA. “We are using the power of DDM to create new vehicles at a pace unparalleled in the auto industry, and we’re thrilled to begin taking orders on 3D-printed cars next year.”

Software developed by Siemens, including Solid Edge®, allowed the Local Motors product development team to move quickly from concept to car with the simplicity of direct modeling and flexibility of synchronous technology. SABIC, a world leader in thermoplastic material solutions, provided the materials used to build the body of LM3D Swim.

Cutting-edge technology will be integrated into all models in the LM3D series. Local Motors recently partnered with IBM to create interactions between the microfactory, 3D-printed vehicles, their drivers and the outside environment in ways never achieved before. These technologies will result in increased safety and efficiency in traffic. Local Motors plans to utilize partners like IBM as well as other leading technology companies to develop and launch a series of apps and vehicle products to connect, monitor and optimize the driving experience.

Local Motors plans to release several new models in the LM3D series throughout 2016 while pursuing federal crash testing and highway certifications. While presales of the cars are expected to begin in spring 2016 with a targeted MSRP of $53,000, manufacturing and delivery of the vehicles are expected in early 2017. All cars in the LM3D series will be built at a new Local Motors microfactory now under construction in Knoxville, Tennessee, which is slated for completion by the end of 2015.

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