BigRep 3D prints Loci autonomous electric pod car
Last year, Polymaker and XEV teamed up to launch what was claimed to be the first mass-producible 3D-printed electric car, the LSEV. Now Germany's BigRep has unveiled a design prototype of a sporty little number made up of 14 3D-printed parts, plus an electric powertrain and self-driving tech.
Named Loci, the curvy four-wheeler has been designed by the company's NowLab consultancy – the same design studio responsible for the futuristic Nera motorcycle – as a last mile transport solution for urban areas, airports, for short commutes, as a campus runabout, or for local deliveries. It measures 85 x 146 x 285 cm and is put together from 14 unique components printed using BigRep's Pro, Studio G2 and One machines.
The body is printed using the company's own Pro HT material, BigRep's PLX material is used for the bumpers, the beams and joints are created using Nylon 6 (PA6/66), and the tires from thermoplastic polyurethane. There's no information at all on the electric drivetrain or the autonomous tech installed, but BigRep does mention a touchscreen media hub, surround sound audio, wireless smartphone charging and LED lighting.
The Loci prototype currently comes in three distinct flavors. The Berlin model is envisioned as a single-seater campus commuter, and features TPU airless tires and components embedded with NFC chips that can be scanned using a mobile phone to help with identification (but could include sensors to track the status of each part in the future).
Urban commuters are the target for the San Francisco variant, which features a narrow body, two passenger seats and a single door to the right that lifts up to provide cover for passengers exiting in the rain. The Dubai concept provides luxury airport transport and sports solar panels, luggage space and desert-ready rugged tires.
At the moment, you can think of Loci as a design study for a possible future production platform. BigRep says that the flexibility of the additive manufacturing production process allows for limited runs to be churned out with quick turnaround times. And the basic design can be modified to suit local needs. The video below has more.