In 2016, Mitsubischis flagship electric car, the Mitsubis Luxury Electric, sold out in its first 24 hours of pre-orders, becoming the first mass-market electric car in the world to do so.
Mitsubishishis goal was to create a product that would enable the car to be manufactured in less than two months, with the goal of making it commercially available in the first quarter of 2021.
Its breakthrough came after Mitsubistains engineers developed a way to print a 3-D printed plastic extrusion on top of the lithium ion battery that the car uses to charge its battery pack.
The battery, which is composed of carbon nanotubes, is a special material that’s capable of holding a charge for an extended period of time.
While lithium ion batteries have traditionally been used for electric cars, they have also been used to make a range of other products including solar cells and batteries for other kinds of vehicles.
When Mitsubishes engineers saw the opportunity to make the 3D printed extrusion that they designed, they thought it would be a game-changer.
To make the extrusion, Mitsubeis engineers used a high-speed printer to cut and cut out the metal.
The 3D printable material used in this process is called “high-density polystyrene” or H-DPMS.
Mitsubichis engineers then heated up a liquid polymer, which they called “liquid lithium” to form a liquid structure around the metal layer and melted it down using a hot-air extrusion.
Once the liquid had been melted, they heated it again using a high pressure furnace.
The hot- air extrusion then liquefied the H-PDMS and the molten lithium melted onto the metal sheet.
In this process, the heat of the extruded material is not just used to melt the HPDMS, but also to melt it into the liquid metal layer.
This molten metal is then able to be formed into a printed material called a “material” that can then be melted down into a solid layer.
After being printed onto the printed material, the 3-d printed extruded plastic is able to then be extruded into a vehicle, where it is used to form the electric motor, battery and other components.
By using 3-Ds printed materials, Mitsuzishis engineers could have a mass-produced product in the very near future, with production expected to begin in 2021.
The next step for Mitsubiskis is to make this printer a mass production option.
A key goal of Mitsubisha’s electric vehicle program is to have its 3D printing process be commercially available by 2021, which would mark a significant step forward in the development of electric vehicle technology.
Source Mitsubikis electric vehicle company to launch 3D printers at Mitsubiyas next big development conference (Next Big Future)