Pheonix, Arizona-based Local Motors disclosed significant details about the expected launch of their first 3D printed, highway-ready consumer vehicle, the LM3D Swim. The company said it’s now moving into an intensive testing and development phase for the vehicle, which it hopes to begin production by next year.
The LM3D Swim will be manufactured at a Knoxville micro factory slated to open next year. The customizable vehicle will be manufactured mostly with 3D printing, although they are yet to finalize an automotive partner for the production of the vehicle’s powertrain and chassis. Pre-sales are expected to start next year through an Indiegogo campaign at a cost of about $53,000.
The LM3D Swim is based on a design created by Kevin Lo. He also designed a model called as Sport, which is being developed alongside several other models in the LM3D series. All through 2016, the company will be releasing and testing these new models as they pursue the federal crash testing and highway certifications that are required to get their car on the road.
The Knoxville factory is set to open early 2016, will be their retail showroom as well will be equipped for four to five 3D printers that have the capacity to manufacture roughly 2,400 vehicles per year. It will also be the company’s first digitally enabled micro-factory, meaning it can 3D print finished pieces directly from digital designs, cutting out additional steps such as tooling or casting. This would substantially cut down production times and costs.
The vehicle is made with up to 90 percent 3D printed parts, making use of 3D printing material that consists of 80 percent ABS plastic and 20 percent carbon fiber. Certain parts such as wheels, tires, drive train and steering parts will be manufactured with traditional means, the company said.
Local Motors has said that they will be using partners such as IBM and their Internet of Things platform to unveil a range of apps and connected vehicle products, which they say will enhance driver safety and efficiency in traffic.
The LM3D Swim is expected to cost roughly around $53,000, depending on a wide range of customization options inherent to the 3D printing production process. Retail options will also be available later in the year.
Earlier, Industry Leaders Magazine reported that besides the upcoming micro-factory in Knoxville, Local Motors has another micro factory in Las Vegas, a smaller factory in Crystal City, and its headquarters in Pheonix. Earlier this year, the company announced a dealership opening in Beijing and also has plans to open one in Berlin.