Local Motors has been building cars with the help of community-submitted part designs for years now, but this September, it has far more ambitious plans: creating a working, 3D-printed electric vehicle, also based on a design by someone from its community. The contest ran during May, and a winner — along with several runner-ups — was announced earlier this month. Local Motors is already printing out initial models of the winning frame as a test, and it's even given one a drive around.
While it isn't clear how much of the vehicle will be 3D printed beyond the body, its limited run and purpose means that Local Motors is able to consider some surprisingly wild designs. The final car will supposedly be highly inspired by the winner, with elements from the runner-ups possibly looped in as well. Below, you can see the winning submission and the six runner-ups — as well as a few other interesting entries that didn't make the cut.
- Strati The winning design (seen in white above), the Strati has a retractable roof and is seen as striking a fine balance between a complex and practical body. (Michele Anoé)
- Internal Strut Frame The Internal Strut Frame uses internal bars to support the upper areas of its body, helping to reduce weight without losing sturdiness. It's composed of a single piece and is inspired by the internal structure of bird wings. (TaurusNut)
- Aeroblade Local Motors says that 3D printing currently has trouble bridging horizontal gaps, so the Aeroblade works around that by using vertical structures to support higher areas of its body. (iMan)
- 3DPCX The 3D PCX uses an open design that places a spine through the middle of the car to maintain support. (Braunarsch)
- LM Supernova The LM Supernova is inspired by, well, supernovas and their sudden force. The vehicle is designed to be lightweight as well. (Sebastian.dib10)
- Mirage The Mirage's body would actually be composed of multiple layers, with an enforced outer layer and an inner layer that's meant to crumble, protecting passengers in the event of an impact. (Velocityopen)
- LM e-Spider The e-Spider's goal is to be strong without using too much material. An attachable roof and flexible plastic windows could be used to seal the car for use in inclement weather. (Chavito)
- entry-rtFBIy The above designs were all runner-ups, but the entry-rtFBIy — like many of the other designs that weren't selected — turned out pretty great too. Two other submissions that didn't make the cut are below. (0)
- LM 45º By far, one of the less futuristic designs put in the running. (JOTAcars)
- Hive The Hive's body is made out a honeycomb pattern to improve structural integrity. (jozedwardo)