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This post combines a few of my favorite things: 3D printing, motorcycles, and electric transportation. An Italian company, CRP Group, demonstrates the limitless possibilities of 3D printing by manufacturing everything from art to satellites and is now turning heads with their piece de resistance—the Energica Ego, a kick ass motorcycle.
CRP Group started in 1970 making components for Formula 1 cars, and now supplies automotive manufacturers with cutting-edge building material. The company also now has a branch Charlotte, North Carolina. Appropriately enough, this bike was built in Modena, Italy, a town referred to as “the capital of engines.” A bunch of other fancy automakers manufacture their goods there as well. Ferrari and Lamborghini call Modena home, you may have heard of them. Those cars are cool and all, but they’re not 3D printed.
Along with laser sintering, CRP uses Windform, a composite material made from a polyamide and carbon fibers, developed by the company’s research and development group. Windform products are stress, oil, and water-resistant, and CRP has built everything from fundamental mechanical parts to headlight covers with it. The 3D printing works as usual—there’s a digital file of each piece of motorcycle. As it scans cross-sections, the laser fuses the material into a powder bed. The next layer goes on top of that, is fused, and then another layer goes on top of that. The finished parts are coated with metal and then painted. The metal parts of the bike (engine frame, forks, battery pack) are built with casted aluminum and the rest are made from Windform.
As if that’s not cool enough, this is an electric motorcycle that operates on battery power. One charge sustains the bike for about 120 miles, and it takes only a couple hours to refill (there are on-board chargers as well). 0% emissions, baby. What’s more, this environmentally friendly bike has a top speed of 150 mph, and can go from 0-100 in 3 seconds. Much like Formula 1 cars, the Energica Ego’s braking system helps it recover energy to power the bike. Also like Formula 1 cars, this is no stealthy creature—as they say, “The sound of the Energica EGO is a roar of power that will astonish”
The Energica Ego hits the market in 2015. The prototype is currently in the study and research phrase, but we’ll see and hear more about it soon. Motorcycle enthusiasts can reserve one with a 500 Euro ($670) deposit, but then they’ll have to pay another 21,500 Euros ($28,822) to take it home. And that’s without taxes. If you’re going to spend that much, you might as well spring for the invisible bike helmet to keep your noggin as safe as the environment.