Supercar with a Caveat
It’s got 3D-printed parts.
Written By Hafiz Akbar, Edited by Tanishka Vashee
A few decades ago, people fantasized about having cars that can be made in an instant. Just pop in a design choice and bam, it’s there in its entirety. Couple of years ago, the technology that could make that dream a reality was created. 3D-printing has since risen in popularity. This is due to its high efficiency and ease of use in manufacturing, but not so much in the automotive industry.
Let’s face it 3D-printed cars, as we see it today, still look like a thing of imagination. It will still take a few years or possibly over a decade for it to be used in a manner that’s efficient and profitable for car manufacturers.
Although Kevin Czinger and David O’Connell, two car designers, thought otherwise.
They both worked on their first ever prototype supercar, dubbed the 21C (stands for 21 Century). The car “… represents the pinnacle of automotive engineering innovation, automotive art and technology-based design.” They specifically stated that they drew inspiration from the Lockheed Martin SR-71 Blackbird. Which is the fastest air-breathing jet to have graced the skies.
According to the Czinger website, the 21C was “…created by a small team of designers, engineers, and scientists using a revolutionary, patented production system.” The production system consists of an integrated automated design and optimization software, high-accuracy automated chassis assembly, and novel performance parts. The 21C is the first vehicle to be made with this production system.
The result speaks for itself. A supercar that manages to break the ever elusive 1-to-1 power-to-weight ratio. It also has that one part of the rear suspension setting that’s fully AI-designed and 3D-printed. Which makes it lighter and even more durable. The passenger’s seat is located behind the driver to reduce the footprint of the cabin. This makes the car more aerodynamic.
David O’Conell and Jon Gunner posing with the 21C in studio
Fully assembled, the 21C’s chassis is home to a hybrid all-wheel drive system. Equipped with double front-mounted electric motors powered by a lithium titanate battery. Czinger developed these in-house! The main engine is a 2.88L V8 capable of producing 950 buff horses at 11.000rpm with 550 ft.lb of torque. Now, combine that with the electric motors up top and you got yourself a monster of an engine capable of reaching 1.250hp at 10.500rpm. That’s more power than the most powerful Formula One car engine could make.
Czinger Vehicles only plans to make 80 21C’s for the sake of exclusivity. Amongst those 80 odd cars, there will be two variants: the standard road version of the car and the “lightweight track” version.
Will the creation of the 21C spark a revolution in the way supercars are engineered and made? Or will it make way for an even more expensive, fully hand-built car like the ones we see in the current Rolls Royces and Koenigseggs? It, as always, will remain to be seen. For now, we can be hopeful that it will.