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Posted: Jun 25, 2015
First 3D-printed supercar goes from 0-60 mph in 2 seconds
(Nanowerk News) Divergent Microfactories today unveiled a disruptive new approach to auto manufacturing that incorporates 3D printing to dramatically reduce the pollution, materials and capital costs associated with building automobiles and other large complex structures. Highlighted by Blade, the first prototype supercar based on this new technology, Divergent Microfactories CEO Kevin Czinger introduced the company’s plan to dematerialize and democratize car manufacturing.
“Society has made great strides in its awareness and adoption of cleaner and greener cars. The problem is that while these cars do now exist, the actual manufacturing of them is anything but environmentally friendly,” said Kevin Czinger, founder & CEO, Divergent Microfactories. “At Divergent Microfactories, we’ve found a way to make automobiles that holds the promise of radically reducing the resource use and pollution generated by manufacturing. It also holds the promise of making large-scale car manufacturing affordable for small teams of innovators. And as Blade proves, we’ve done it without sacrificing style or substance. We’ve developed a sustainable path forward for the car industry that we believe will result in a renaissance in car manufacturing, with innovative, eco-friendly cars like Blade being designed and built in microfactories around the world.”
Divergent Microfactories’ technology centers around its proprietary solution called a Node: a 3D-printed aluminum joint that connects pieces of carbon fiber tubing to make up the car’s chassis. The Node solves the problem of time and space by cutting down on the actual amount of 3D printing required to build the chassis and can be assembled in just minutes. In addition to dramatically reducing materials and energy use, the weight of the Node-enabled chassis is up to 90% lighter than traditional cars, despite being much stronger and more durable. This results in better fuel economy and less wear on roads.
The centerpiece of the Divergent Microfactories announcement is Blade, the world’s first 3D-printed supercar. Designed and built using Divergent Microfactories’ technology, the prototype is one of the greenest and most powerful cars in the world. Equipped with a 700-horsepower bi-fuel engine that can use either compressed natural gas or gasoline, Blade goes from 0-60 in about two seconds and weighs around 1,400 pounds. Divergent Microfactories plans to sell a limited number of high-performance vehicles that will be manufactured in its own microfactory.
In addition to unveiling its technology platform and prototype, Divergent Microfactories announced plans to democratize auto manufacturing. The goal is to put the platform in the hands of small entrepreneurial teams around the world, allowing them to set up their own microfactories and build their own cars and, eventually, other large complex structures. These microfactories will make innovation affordable while reducing the health and environmental impacts of traditional manufacturing.