DETROIT (CBS) — The It Car at this month’s Detroit Auto Show wasn’t made on an assembly line but on a 3-D printer.
Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers believes it will revolutionize the way automobiles are made.
“I like to think about it as, you go to a car wash today and you stand in front of the window and go, ‘look at my car getting washed.’ It’s the same thing: look at my car getting made, getting printed,” he told CBS reporter Julianna Goldman.
Rogers says about 95 percent of the volume of the car is printed but tires, springs and the motor are not — at least, not yet.
Rogers thinks an electric version of the vehicle could be available by the end of the year and with a starting price anywhere from $18,000 to $30,000. But instead of picking from a dealer’s lot, the customer can be a designer.
“You can come in and say, ‘I want four seats, I want five seats, I want six seats,'” Rogers said.
Rogers will need to convince buyers that a vehicle squirted out of something that looks like a giant inkjet printer is safe to drive.
“This is carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic. So what we’re talking about is something that actually is an aerospace-grade material,” Rogers said.
These first models are built to cruise around neighborhoods at under 40 miles per hour. To get on the highway, they’ll need to meet rigorous federal road safety standards.