The World’s First 3D-Printed Electric Motorcycle

The World's First 3D-Printed Electric Motorcycle

Everyone knows that the world of 3D-Printing is developing at an incredibly fast rate, but who knew we would already be at the stage where whole vehicles are able to be printed right in front of our very eyes.  But, that is exactly what is happening with the help of APWorks, who are a subsidiary of the French aerospace company, Airbus.  Although the Munich-based company currently manufacture parts for the automotive, medical, and robotic industries. This is its first venture of this kind, and the team is hopeful that by creating a 3D, bespoke motorcycle they will be able to showcase their design and fabrication techniques to the rest of the world in a more glamorous fashion.

The team at APWorks collaborated with Altair Engineering to design the motorcycle’s frame and swingarm section.  Their morphogenetic software is able to create forms that achieve maximum strength with minimal mass and has been used in designing planes, yachts, and the jet-powered Bloodhound SSC.  Using this software to design the motorcycle and an aircraft-grade alloy called Scalmalloy to print it, the teams set out to work.

Scalmalloy is a material that was developed by the Airbus group which they claim is the strength of titanium. Although it has incredible strength, it is relatively lightweight, and the whole motorcycle frame weighs just 13 pounds.  But, that doesn’t affect its performance in any way.  The innovative electric bike is still able to achieve a top speed of around 50mph and zero to 28mph in just 3 seconds thanks to its eight horsepower motor.  Also, with the ability to travel a distance of 35 miles before having to recharge this bike is a marvel.

Although many innovative products by large enterprises are showcased and then never made available to the public, APWorks plan to print 50 of the Light Rider motorcycles and sell them for around $56,000 each.  This is largely down to the fact that currently the time it takes to print a whole motorcycle is around 1 week with its 14 different sections.  But, experts are confident that this can be scaled down for mass production, so there may be another batch to follow if the product takes off as well as expected and Light Rider could soon become the nation’s next favorite motorcycle (well, 3-D printed, anyway).

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