New York

It may look like something from the inside of a Christmas cracker, but this is the world’s first 3D printed electric car.

The toy-like LM3D Swim was created by Arizona-based Local Motors, who have announced that the vehicle will be available to buy from next year - for $53,000 (£34,000). Thanks to the flexibility of 3D printing, unique body shapes can be accommodated, and so orders of the car could be individually tailored to unique designs. However, early designs of the vehicle have been compared to the toy car driven by the children’s television character Noddy.  Local Motors say they will begin pre-selling models in spring 2016 with a targeted retail price of £34,000 ($53,000) and manufacturing and delivery of the vehicles is expected in early 2017. The company wowed the automotive industry by live-printing the world’s first 3D-printed car at the Las Vegas SEMA automotive trade event last year. Debuting at this month’s SEMA show in Las Vegas, the LM3D Swim was designed by Kevin Lo, a Local Motors community member who won the company’s Project Redacted challenge in July. 

‘The winning design was chosen by community votes and a judging panel that included former Tonight Show host Jay Leno and SEMA Vice President of Vehicle Technology John Waraniak.

‘In the past few months our engineers have moved from only a rendering to the car you see in front of you today,’ Local Motors CEO Jay Rogers told the crowd at SEMA. ‘We are using the power of DDM to create new vehicles at a pace unparalleled in the auto industry, and we’re thrilled to begin taking orders on 3D-printed cars next year.’

Local Motors plans to release several new models in the LM3D series throughout 2016 while pursuing federal crash testing and highway certifications. All cars in the LM3D series will be built at a new Local Motors microfactory now under construction in Knoxville, Tennessee, which is slated for completion by the end of 2015.