The Areion: An Electric Vehicle Printed in 3D
An EV … In 3D
The Areion, an electric vehicle, went from 0 to 62 mph in 4 seconds. Perhaps more impressively, the electric racer went from initial shell design to a finished 3D printed car body in just three weeks.
Designed by a team of 16 Belgian engineering students making up “Group T,” the Areion was born via “mammoth” stereolithography machines at custom fabrication company Materialise (materialise.com). The machines’ build envelope of 2100 x 680 x 800-mm gave engineers a wide berth to print Areion’s entire body, which was produced using bio-composite materials.
A 50-volt lithium polymer battery pack powers Areion’s 85-kW motor. The shell is supported with a double-A carbon composite wishbone suspension system and titanium uprights. The one-seater weighs 280 kg (617 lb).
Designed and printed with cooling channels, the left- and right-side pods, respectively, help distribute air to the radiator, while filtering water and dirt from reaching the engine compartment. Finally, printed onto Areion’s nose is a course, shark skin-like texture, designed to cut through the air, much like Olympic swim suits slice through the water, according to Materialise.
The Areion’s first demonstration was in August on the Hockenheim race circuit at the Formula Student 2012 challenge, where budding engineers are charged with building production-capable autocross or sprint race prototypes. The racer maxed out at 88 mph.