At the Los Angeles Auto Show, automaker Divergent 3D showed off their 3D-printed Blade Supercar. The 635 kilogram (1,400 pound) car is made of a combination of aluminum and carbon fiber; accelerates to 97 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour) in 2.2 seconds with its 700 hp engine; and can use either gasoline or compressed natural gas as fuel.
The Blade Supercar debuted last year in June, heralding the company’s radical, environmentally-sustainable approach to manufacturing. Divergent calls the manufacturing approach NODE, where they 3D print aluminum nodes joined together by carbon fiber tubing.
The process, which is similar to using Lego blocks, requires less capital and uses up fewer materials. The ease of assembly means that even semi-skilled workers can run the process.
As an added bonus, Divergent 3D’s cars are 90 percent lighter and more durable than cars built with traditional techniques.
Divergent 3D aims to manufacture competitive automobiles while radicalizing the usual car manufacturing process that can be taxing on the environment.
Making a car can be just as polluting as driving one. Metals, rubbers, plastics, paints, and more are extracted from nature and synthesized through a long process where resources are shipped from all across the world. As The Guardian reported in 2010, producing a medium-sized car like a Ford Mondeo can generate more than 17,000 kilograms (17 tonnes) of greenhouse gases.
But more industries today are taking a global shift into sustainability. Divergent, together with its partner companies, are helping take the lead in changing auto manufacturing for the better.