There’s a race of sorts for premium and exotic brands to introduce electrified vehicles, either variants of existing models or all-new ones designed with electrification in mind. We’re seeing this from legacy brands like Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Porsche, of course, but also from new and emerging automakers as well.
Enter The 21C (‘21st Century’) hypercar from Southern California-based Czinger Vehicles and its parent company, Divergent Technologies. By any measure this is no ordinary electrified supercar.
Yes, it offers massive power with an in-house developed 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V-8 and a pair of high-output electric motors energized with lithium-titanate batteries, producing a total 1250 horsepower. It impresses with its frenetic 11,000 rpm redline, 0 to 60 mph acceleration of 1.9 seconds, and quarter-mile time of 8.1 seconds. Not impressive enough? Then let’s ponder a 0 to 185 mph sprint that’s said to consume a mere 15 seconds.
Power from the two front traction motors and combined, crank-driven starter-generator is transferred to all four wheels through a seven-speed sequential transaxle gearbox. Two versions of the gearbox are available, one a synchromesh street version for everyday shifting and the other a track variant with full race dog gears to achieve the fastest possible shift times.
Inside, the 21C features “jet-fighter” seating that’s said to address optimum vehicle weight distribution. This configuration finds the driver positioned in the middle of the 21C and the passenger behind, with this in-line seating allowing for a narrow cabin that aids the vehicle’s slippery aerodynamics. A range of cutting-edge and next-generation Alcantara materials are found throughout the cabin.
This is as beautiful a design as you could want in a supercar. But what really sets this apart from the crowd is that, for the most part, its carbon fiber and alloy construction is the result of Divergent’s advanced 3D printing and manufacturing technology. Yeah, you read that right. And it’s all created in-house at the company’s facility in Los Angeles. Czinger says only 80 copies of the 21C will be produced at a cool $1.7 million.
The evolving world of 3D printing is nothing less than astonishing. Today, 3D printing is being used to help create everything from body parts to car parts. As demonstrated at last year’s SEMA Show, an entire car can also be created in real time and driven off under its own power. Now students at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have built the first solar electric car with a 3D-printed body shell that has 150 individually 3D printed parts.
Mounted on a carbon fiber chassis and designed from scratch by NTU undergraduates, the solar NV8 and companion NV9 three-wheeled racer were built within a year at the Innovation Lab housed at the School of Mechanical and Aerospace engineering. The team’s 16 students and mentor Associate Professor Ng Heong Wah collaborated with various NTU schools and research centers, plus sponsors and institutions including Stratasys, Creatz3D, and the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART).
The cars will race in the Shell Eco-Marathon Asia hosted in Manilla at the end of this month. According to the mechanical engineering students Kam Sen Hao and Ng Jun Wen who designed the NV8, the solar car was originally envisioned to feature a supercar design but the competition’s dimensional requirements resulted in a more sensible micro-car with vertical opening doors.