Local Motors Strati is the World’s First 3D Printed Car

local motors Strati 3d printed electric car frontYou wouldn’t download a car would you?

Well if you have an industrial grade 3D printer you might be able to someday download the chassis. Based out of Arizona, Local Motors is introducing the world to Strati, a car built out of a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic. Strati is a two seater electric coupe with a top speed of 40 mph and a range of around 120 miles.

local motors Strati 3d printed electric car rear

While the motor, wiring, and windscreens are all made using conventional means, the car is built out of a ridiculously small number of individual parts thanks to the printing process. Local Motors expects to sell Strati for $18,000 to $30,000 depending on additional features and accessories.

This could represent a manufacturing breakthrough. If Strati finds any small amount of success, 3D printing could drastically lower the bar for other manufacturers looking to produce commuter vehicles. You can find more info on Local Motors site, and you can see their Strati time-lapse teaser video below.

Tesla Wins in Massachusetts Supreme Court Direct Sales Lawsuit

model-s-blue-front2_960x640It’s been a long fight for Tesla in MA, but yesterday the state’s highest court thew out the lawsuit which would have blocked Tesla from selling electric vehicles directly to consumers.

The Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association sued Tesla citing the state’s franchise law, but the court ruled that Tesla was not violating the spirit of that law. The franchise law was written to protect franchise owners from direct and unfair competition against a parent company, a relationship which does not exist for Tesla. Justice Margot Botsford wrote:

The law “was intended and understood only to prohibit manufacturer-owned dealerships when, unlike Tesla, the manufacturer already had an affiliated dealer or dealers in Massachusetts”.

“Contrary to the plaintiffs’ assertion,” she added, “the type of competitive injury they describe between unaffiliated entities is not within the statute’s area of concern.”

Tesla is current fighting similar statutes in several other states including Texas, Arizona, Maryland, and recently an ugly public fight in New Jersey. If the state laws there are similar to MA’s, then this case might set the stage for Tesla’s future legal strategy.


Students Aim to Build Record Breaking Solar Powered Car

14652765876_5a9a687e2f_oStudents at the University of New South Wales hold the Guinness World Record for fastest Solar Powered Electric Vehicle. They set the record in 2011 with a car that hit a top speed of 55mph. Now they have their sights set on another record to smash.

On July 23rd the Sunswift Student Team is looking to unleash the newest version of the eVe electric car, and they’re hoping to break the record for fastest average speed over a 500km distance, which currently sits at 73km per hour (around 45mph). They’re being coy by how much, but they’re confident they can break that record by a “comfortable” margin. Continue reading “Students Aim to Build Record Breaking Solar Powered Car”

CBS Interviews Elon Musk: Tesla Model S completes cross country road trip in 76 hours

model-s-blue-front2_960x640This is a giant leap for EV’s!

Handily answering concerns about range and charge time, two Model S Tesla sedans have completed a cross country road trip starting in LA and arriving in New York a little more than three days later.

Tesla’s Supercharger stations quickly recharge or swap batteries on the Model S, making electric vehicles a more attractive solution for people who drive long distances. More Supercharger stations need to be built for the system to appeal across the country, but this is fantastic progress considering how non-existent the infrastructure for EV’s was even just a couple years ago.

Now hopefully I’ll NEVER have to field that inane question from people here in LA “B-b-b-but what if I suddenly and unexpectedly want to road trip to Vegas like I never do?”

Interview below.

Will Elon Musk Bring Android Apps to the Tesla Model S Dashboard Touchscreen?

model-s-interior1_960x640At a reception in Germany, Elon Musk spoke to a crowd about Tesla’s investment in the German market. Germany is very forward on renewable energy, alternative fuels, and they seem like a natural fit for the Tesla vibe. Especially considering that Germany was the second place market for the Tesla Roadster (behind the USA).

While answering questions about their corporate plans, Musk was asked about developing apps for the huge touchscreen built into the dash of the Tesla Sedan. The Model S currently uses a build of Linux, so porting Android apps over, or running them in an emulator, should be fairly easy to do, and he does specifically mention updating the car’s browser to chrome.

Elon actually takes the stage at 14:47 in this video, and you can skip to 37:20 to hear him answer the question about apps and Android.

I still have some ergonomic and safety reservations about an automobile control surface comprised mostly of a smooth featureless touchscreen, but at least I might not have to learn a new and unfamiliar ¬†UI when I’m finally able to get my hands on a Tesla of my very own… Some day… It could happen… Sigh…

Tesla working towards self-driving cars by 2017

model-s-blue-front2_960x640Sign me up. I’m sold. I used to love hitting the open road, but after living in LA for a couple years I’m done. All the wasted time sitting in zombifying traffic I could be spending on ANYTHING ELSE. There’s no more romance for me. The car is no longer a gadget I cherish, but a necessary evil.

Unless of course I no longer had to drive it myself anymore.

The dream of science fiction robot taxis is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality, and geek sweetheart Tesla is getting into the game. Joining companies like Google, CEO Elon Musk is promising “auto-pilot” features on Tesla automobiles in 3-4 years. Color me stoked!

Four years is a tremendously fast time table to get functionality like this tested and refined for general use, but Musk has demonstrated a unique drive in getting ambitious projects off the ground, and we can always hope that at some point, rather than having multiple companies producing competing systems, they might at some point pool their resources to provide true standards to the public.

In addition to freeing me up to utilize my commute more effectively, this could also help to curb the problems we face with distracted driving. It’s a win-win all around.

(via Reuters)