Two years ago, Jim Kor's Urbee made headlines for being the first car to have its entire structure printed from a 3D printer. Kor's company Kor Ecologic is now working on the second generation of the Urbee, dubbed Urbee 2, which may actually make it to production.
According to Wired, the 10-foot-long plastic car takes 2,500 hours to print out. The Urbee 2 is eco-friendly thanks to its "lightweight" 1,200-pound chassis, which helps it get more miles per gallon. By printing the car and its inside guts (such as its dashboard) as a unibody piece, Kor says the Urbee 2 has reduced rolling resistance, which makes it extremely aerodynamic. In most countries, Kor admits the Urbee 2 and its three wheels (two up front, one in back) will be registered as a motorcycle as opposed to a passenger car.
But while the car's frame will be mostly plastic, it still requires a metal engine — a hybrid engine that has a maximum of 10 horsepower. The Urbee 2 is also reportedly capable of reaching 40 miles per hour with a 36-volt electric motor.
Of course, there's also another issue with a plastic-printed car: safety. Would a single crack break the entire unibody-constructed car? It's possible, but Kor says he wants the final production Urbee 2 to "exceed most, if not all, current automotive safety standards."
Kor tells Wired that his company plans to drive an Urbee 2 prototype from San Francisco to New York on only 10 gallons of pure ethanol gas and have the Guinness book of world records confirm it. The distance between those two cities is about 3,000 miles, which means the car would need to get 300 miles per gallon, far more than the 200 miles per gallon the original Urbee touted. Being the skeptics we are, we'll believe it when it happens, assuming the car doesn't fall apart halfway through.