When Japanese confectionary maker, Toshimaya, approached Honda with the idea that they should build them an electric micro car, they knew that only these nutters would go ahead and accept the challenge. Honda, for their part, treated the project as an experiment in 3D printing.
And by that we mean they built the entire thing, in partnership with Kabuku Inc., using a 3D printer. To be more precise, the Honda micro commuter “uses a chassis constructed from Honda’s rigid but lightweight pipe frame structure, and 3D printing techniques have been used to create the exterior panels and luggage space.” The vehicle has only room for a driver and the rest of the space is used for storing confectionary, and it has a Honda Micro EV drive unit that lasts for trips up to 80 km (50 miles) between charges and with its 15 hp can do up to 70 km/h (43 mph). Charging this thing takes 7 hours with a regular and 3 hours with a fast charger.
3D printing is something we will be hearing more and more about in the car industry in the near future. The only hurdle in the way of this technology going mainstream is cost. But as that plummets with the introduction of new methods of 3D printing, the application of this technology will become more widespread.