Automotive

Local Motors' LM3D Swim set to be the world's first 3D-printed electric production car

Local Motors' LM3D Swim set to...
Local Motors LM3D Swim: beach cruiser concept soon to become the first production 3D printed electric vehicle
Local Motors LM3D Swim: beach cruiser concept soon to become the first production 3D printed electric vehicle
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Some 75 percent of Local Motors' LM3D Swim is 3D printed
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Some 75 percent of Local Motors' LM3D Swim is 3D printed
Local Motors LM3D Swim: the body design was originally the work of community member Kevin Lo
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Local Motors LM3D Swim: the body design was originally the work of community member Kevin Lo
Local Motors LM3D Swim: beach buggy concept
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Local Motors LM3D Swim: beach buggy concept
Local Motors LM3D Swim and Sport - same chassis and side panels, different body shapes altogether.
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Local Motors LM3D Swim and Sport - same chassis and side panels, different body shapes altogether.
LM3D Swim - many pieces taken from the Mazda Miata.
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LM3D Swim - many pieces taken from the Mazda Miata.
Local Motors LM3D Swim: design documents
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Local Motors LM3D Swim: design documents
Local Motors LM3D Sport: the Swim gets an entirely different look
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Local Motors LM3D Sport: the Swim gets an entirely different look
Local Motors LM3D Swim and Sport: Only the front and rear body panels change between the two designs.
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Local Motors LM3D Swim and Sport: Only the front and rear body panels change between the two designs.
Local Motors LM3D: functional chassis stays the same between multiple car concepts
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Local Motors LM3D: functional chassis stays the same between multiple car concepts
Local Motors LM3D: battery cells run up the middle of the car, protected by a 4-inch thick underside hull
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Local Motors LM3D: battery cells run up the middle of the car, protected by a 4-inch thick underside hull
Local Motors LM3D Sport: thankfully, the outward facing speakers appear to have been deleted from the final design
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Local Motors LM3D Sport: thankfully, the outward facing speakers appear to have been deleted from the final design
Local Motors LM3D Sport: a sleeker look not unlike a Lotus Elise.
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Local Motors LM3D Sport: a sleeker look not unlike a Lotus Elise.
Local Motors LM3D Sport: soft top convertible
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Local Motors LM3D Sport: soft top convertible
Local Motors LM3D Swim: beach cruiser concept soon to become the first production 3D printed electric vehicle
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Local Motors LM3D Swim: beach cruiser concept soon to become the first production 3D printed electric vehicle
Local Motors LM3D Sport: aggressive sports design
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Local Motors LM3D Sport: aggressive sports design
Local Motors LM3D Swim: soft top convertible
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Local Motors LM3D Swim: soft top convertible
Local Motors LM3D Swim: 3D printed electric car to go on sale in 2016
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Local Motors LM3D Swim: 3D printed electric car to go on sale in 2016
Local Motors LM3D Swim: 4 seater fun mobile
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Local Motors LM3D Swim: 4 seater fun mobile
Local Motors LM3D: form over function - the chassis can be overlaid with a number of different body concepts, in this case the Swim and Sport versions
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Local Motors LM3D: form over function - the chassis can be overlaid with a number of different body concepts, in this case the Swim and Sport versions

Arizona-based Local Motors is aiming to become the first to bring a 3D-printed electric car to market. The LM3D Swim is a demonstration of the speed at which additive manufacture can bring ideas into reality, as well as showing off Local Motors' production ethos of "form over function." The functional chassis of the car is able to be "skinned" with any number of body concepts to give it all sorts of visual character – and since the car is 3D-printed, one-off body shapes are not a problem.

We’ve seen Local Motors at various international trade shows now, displaying a number of 3D-printed electric car concepts, such as the Strati. But now it seems the company is ready to take something to market.

Local Motors LM3D Swim: beach buggy concept
Local Motors LM3D Swim: beach buggy concept

The LM3D Swim is inspired by the work of designer Kevin Lo, a Local Motors community member who took out the company’s recent Project Redacted challenge. Local Motors has adapted Lo’s design for production using bits and pieces, like electric windows and windshields, from the Mazda Miata convertible, with the process from design to finished prototype taking just two months.

The electric drivetrain of the car includes a core of battery cells that run up the middle of the body that are protected from road impacts by some 4 inches (10 cm) of underside hull. It appears Local Motors has generously decided not to include the original design's outward facing party speakers – an act of community service I think we can all appreciate.

Roughly 75 percent of the LM3D Swim will be 3D printed, including the body panels and chassis, using some sort of composite ABS plastic/carbon fiber material that’s yet to be finalized. Eventually, Local Motors hopes to be printing as much as 90 percent of the car.

The LM3D Swim is a kind of beach buggy design, but Local Motors also plans to release a Sport version that keeps the same chassis and side designs, but replaces the front and back ends with totally different pieces to completely overhaul the look of the car.

Local Motors LM3D Sport: thankfully, the outward facing speakers appear to have been deleted from the final design
Local Motors LM3D Sport: thankfully, the outward facing speakers appear to have been deleted from the final design

The plan is to expand the LM3D series throughout 2016 as the Local Motors pursues federal crash testing and highway certifications. These will possibly be based on the same chassis to further demonstrate what a huge difference can be made by using different body shell. All vehicles in the series will be constructed at the company's new microfactory that is currently under construction in Knoxville, Tennesse, and is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Presales of the LM3D series will begin in 2016, with a targeted price of US$53,000 and an expected delivery date in 2017. Eager buyers can place a deposit via a crowdfunding campaign set to begin in Q2 2016, with wider retail purchase slated for later in 2016.

You can check out the company's construction process in the video below.

Source: Local Motors

LM3D Swim – Safe. Smart. Sustainable. — 3D-Printed Car by Local Motors (2015)

8 comments
Derek Howe
I was hoping a 3D printed car would be super cheap...but 53k...holy crap that is crazy high. I could get a waaaaaay better car for that price.
kid-jensen
This car has "vapourware" written all over it. How many years have Local Motors been proposing this? And they have not even finalised the type of plastic!
EnriqueSuarez
Wait till one of these gummie-bears-on-wheels gets hit by a real car in a crash test. They'll have to get past that before we see them on the road.
Nicolas Zart
$53,000 better pack a lot of performance. Maybe the point here is how the car is unusual, but that's a high price point to start with, considering how long we've been waiting to hear from the company.
minivini
After energy rebate incentives, it'll be about 12 to 15 thousand more than a loaded Leaf. WAY less than a basic Tesla. Only a little more than an i3. So no, this is not crazy expensive. If it has better range than the competition, and good options, I'll happily sell my Leaf SL for one. And I love my Leaf.
Timelord
This isn't that unlikely. I think this would come off the production lines long before the Elio will.
Dr.Veritas
I'm wondering how micro is their micro-factory? I'm thinking the crowdfunding campaign may wind up short of its goal seeing as how $53K for a car with virtually no upside over any other option. I'll be waiting for the Tesla model that will be coming out in a few years which will hopefully hit its price target of mid $30K. With the gigafactory and other economies of scale in place I think it likely that they will hit that target. This idea kind of reminds me of the saying "Just because you can BLANK, doesn't mean you should BLANK!" Please fill in the BLANK yourself. Still, I would love to be proven wrong. I thought cable TV was a dumb idea. After all, who is going to pay for what I can get free via my antenna? Oops!
RobertClark
Many companies have made the claim of making the "first" 3D-printed car. But none have 3D-printed the most important part, the engine. It will be a revolutionary advance when the engine is also 3D-printed. It would be difficult to do with an internal combustion engine, with its high temperatures and multiple moving parts at high tolerances. But it should be much easier to do with an electric engine. In fact it should be doable for members of the public who have one of the small 3D-printers offered for sale now to make a scale-size electric car with electric engine also 3D-printed. Who will be really first at this? Bob Clark