Honda is showing off just how valuable 3D printing can be in the automotive world.
The Japanese automaker teamed up with 3D printer Kabuku Inc. to unveil an urban delivery vehicle at CEATEC Japan 2016, featuring 3D-printed body panels. The creation was built for Toshimaya, a company that needed a subcompact van to deliver shortbread in its hometown of Kamakura, which has very narrow roads. According to Kabuku and Honda, the project took two months to develop and is based on the Micro Commuter Concept that first debuted in 2011. Using Honda’s Variable Platform, key components of the electric vehicle, including its battery, motor and control unit, are all positioned together so that they can easily be used as a basis for other vehicles.
The chassis for the project is constructed from a rigid, lightweight pipe frame structure developed by Honda’s motorcycle division.
Overall, the vehicle measures 98 by 50 by 61 inches (2,495 by 1,280 by 1,545 mm) and weighs just 1,323 pounds (600 kilograms). To develop the 15-hp electric car, Kabuku used what it calls “Rinkak Mass Customization Solutions,” which provides rapid 3D design, mold-less 3D printing and a network of factories for fabrication.
The delivery van is capable of hitting a top speed of 43 mph (70 km/h) and has an all-electric range of about 50 miles (80 km).