This isn’t Honda’s first experiment with 3D-printing, but it’s one of its biggest we’ve seen thus far.
The automaker’s accessories department, called Honda Access, has been using 3D-printers in its product development cycle since 2006. That’s why together with Kabuku inc. – a Japanese tech company – Honda created an automobile that utilizes 3D-printing technology in order to further develop its Variable Design platform.
The Variable Design platform is Honda’s vision of offering a small, modular architecture that can underpin inexpensive vehicles suited for each individual’s needs
So, unsurprisingly, this car (which is unnamed yet) was constructed on the company’s Variable Design platform. It also features a compact electric powertrain, and it was unveiled at the at CEATEC Japan 2016. Described as a jointly developed mass customized vehicle that reflected individual needs, the automobile was tailor-made as a low-cost, economical delivery van for Toshimaya Corp’s local business.
It’s development process was shortened to about two months by taking advantage of rapid 3D design, mold-less development and a digital manufacturing factory network.
Under the skin, the micro-van features a pipe-based framework which supports various, inexpensive 3D-printed body panels.
Honda announced its plans to offer an inexpensive vehicle that can be customized according to the driver’s need a while back, and this machine could be the first step towards that direction.