1493664235469 - New Zealand’s first 3D-printed electric car being built in Otara

New Zealand’s first 3D-printed electric car being built in Otara

 South Auckland will soon be home to New Zealand’s first 3D-printed electric vehicle.

In an office at Otara’s Accelerating Aotearoa, Ira Munn is busy working away on The Drop – a three-wheeled electric car.

The Drop is designed for commuters, will be motorway legal, and will have a battery range of up to 300 kilometres.

Munn has been developing the car for the past year, partnering with engineering students at Massey University to produce it using a 3D printer.

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The 3D vehicle kits will be built from recyclable materials and Munn says it’s a game changer as it no longer requires assembly lines.

A first prototype will be ready by August and Munn’s anticipating it will then be on the market by March 2018 at a cost of about $10,000.

“It’s a first for New Zealand and I’m really excited that New Zealand can have an electric car it can call its own,” Munn says.

Munn and his wife emigrated to New Zealand from the United States in 2015 to set up his business, Ierospace.

It was through Airbnb they connected with Judy Speight of Accelerating Aotearoa, a charity supporting technology education and development.

He’s been partnered with the charity since, and he hopes through that he can connect with young people to teach them more about 3D printing and involve them in the process.

“I think there’s a lot of creativity here in south Auckland that hasn’t been unlocked yet,” Munn says.

Electric vehicles are those charged from an external source by either electric batteries or a petrol or diesel engine.

In 2016 the government announced a programme to increase the uptake of electric vehicles. It has a target of doubling the number of electric vehicles in New Zealand each year to reach about 64,000 by 2021.

Munn is an avid public transport user and is confident an increase in electric vehicles in Auckland will make a difference to the environment.

“I’m excited about Ierospace having a role in helping accomplish that goal.

“I want our footpaths for pedestrians to be safe from vehicle exhausts … we’ll be improving the environment in many ways.”

Munn will be showcasing The Drop and Massey University’s 3D printer at Conferenz’s evworld expo at Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau in September.