Airbus has a wholly-owned subsidiary called APWorks, which is set up to develop additive manufacturing techniques – especially metallic 3D printing – for the supply chains of Airbus’ main businesses. From time to time, the company releases independent products developed through their manufacturing work for Airbus.
The latest of such product is particularly interesting to us at Electrek: a 3D printed all-electric motorcycle.
Airbus is claiming that the Light Rider is the world’s first 3D printed electric motorcycle.
I’m using the word ‘motorcycle’ liberally here as the Light Rider probably falls more accurately somewhere in-between an high-end electric bike like Rimac’s Greyp and a low-end full-fledged electric motorcycle.
Nonetheless, the bike features some impressive specs. Thanks to APWorks proprietary 3D printing material, Scalmalloy – an aluminum alloy, the vehicle is weighing in at only 35 kg (77 lbs). That’s the overall system with the 6 kW motor, battery pack and mechanical parts.
The frame itself only weights 6 kg (13 lbs). It also clearly looks like it’s 3D printed and APWorks says that it was a deliberate choice:
“APWorks used an algorithm to develop the Light Rider’s optimized structure to keep weight at a minimum while ensuring the motorcycle’s frame was strong enough to handle the weight loads and stresses of everyday driving scenarios. The result: a motorcycle that looks more like an organic exoskeleton than a machine. That was a very deliberate design goal for APWorks, which programmed the algorithm to use bionic structures and natural growth processes and patterns as the basis for developing a strong but lightweight structure.”
Its hollow frame allows for integrated cables and pipes for the vehicle’s powertrain.
The swappable battery enables a range of 60 km (37 miles) on a single charge. The top speed is 80 km/h (50 mph) and it can accelerate from 0 to 45 km/h (28 mph) in 3 seconds. Depending on where you are located, it’s likely that you wouldn’t need a motorcycle license to ride the Light Rider.
While the concept’s main role seems to be showcasing APWorks’ technology, the company is going ahead with a limited production run of 50 Light Riders for sale – though we are talking about a ridiculous price tag here: €50,000 ($56,000 USD).
Here’s a gallery and video of the Light Rider below: