At the Geneva Motor Show the traditional parade of mad and marvelous concept cars has proved a big draw. While some of the cars look like they’re ready to hit the production lines, others look more like they’ve just escaped from a comic strip. But the point is to explore what might be just around the corner.
German company EDAG said they have come up with the very first car printed in 3D. Construction involves stereo-lithography, selective laser melting and fused deposition modelling. Christoph Horvath, their spokesperson, explained: “We have now here an example how a car could be built using professional 3D printing. To create a car without the use of any tools would be a real revolution for the industry.”
Swiss car manufacturer Rinspeed has come up with something which looks more like a sitting room than a vehicle. These seats can be configured in up to twenty different layouts and the car pretty much drives itself. CEO Frank Rinderknecht, said: “Once, personally, I’m driving autonomously I don’t want to watch my steering wheel turn left or right. I want to read, I want to sleep, relax, watch movies, news, anything else.”
UPM, a Finnish manufacturing company joined forces with engineers at Helsinki’s Metropolia University to design a wooden car. They say it demonstrates the utility of renewable biomaterials in the car industry. Oscar Nissinen, a project engineer at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, said: “We have plans to make this road legal and go through the process in Finland to get the plates, which you can see outside, and that means that we could drive it on the streets.”
There are moves within the automotive industry towards using aluminium in car construction, but who knows? Perhaps one day cars manufacturers will also use laminated wood and hemp fibres as well as fibreglass and plastic.