Local Motors, the first company to ever 3D print an electrical car, got an important investment from the Airbus Ventures’ $150 million fund, a business otherwise known for backing up aerospace development programs.
While it might seem a surprise investment for their peers, Tim Dombrowski, managing general partner of Airbus Ventures says, it was “the right fit” all along.
For automotive enthusiasts, that means seeing more Stratis in the near future. If you somehow missed it, Strati was the name on everyone’s lips at the International Manufacturing Technology Show held in Chicago two years ago.
That evening, in just 44 hours, the 3D printing machine used by Local Motors made a mere dream, a reality. Using ABS plastic and carbon fiber, the company proved that 3D printing can be the future of electrical cars.
Now, a new model is in the making; LM3D takes pride in the fact that it will be the first car intended for the public, designed by the public. Kevin Lo, an average Joe, like you and me, will provide the engineering design for the car, working alongside Local Motors employees in a micro-factory. This isn’t a single time event, either; the company’s business model involves crowdsourcing engineering designs and then turning them into customizable products.
In other words, with the right in-house tools and a bit of wild imagination, any designer that wins a previously-established competition can create a 3D car from scratch.
As for Airbus Ventures, they’re convinced that this model can be extended for aerospace applications: “We see great promise in companies like Local Motors who improve the speed with which new products can be brought to market”.