Would You Buy a Car if You Could 3D-Print Custom Parts for It?
This is the Daihatsu me:MO, with custom 3D-printed panels courtesy of its owner. At least, that is what Daihatsu is depicting with a series of weird and wild me:MO EVs to promote the ability for buyers to personalize their purchases with 3D-printed parts of their own designs. The small me:MO may not be your cup of tea, but what if several manufacturers began offering such a service? Would that incentivize you to own one?
What Daihatsu is proposing is a custom modular EV that can accept owners’ 3D-printing ideas, turning them into reality. The technology would allow for unique interior and exterior customizations to really personalize the car. Automobile personalization is more popular than ever, with the recent SEMA Show saying it is an over $3 billion a year business overall.
Who makes this 3D-printed car?
Daihatsu was at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, wrapping everything on display as a “redefining the relationship between cars and people” overview. This includes the me:MO, which can be changed by its owner as the owner’s tastes change. This also goes as far as seating, with a single seat preserving the rest of the interior space for racks or shelves or adding seats for whatever the driver’s needs may be.
“We changed the way cars are manufactured and made it possible to modify not only the design but also the form of the vehicle by constructing a modular structure of interior and exterior parts with necessary and sufficient functionality,” Daihatsu says. “This has allowed us to create a sustainable car that can be used for an extended period. Its style and sense of enjoyment can adapt to different stages of life.”
Who wants to customize their vehicle?
Are some of the suggestions pretty goofy? Yes, but that’s not the point. You know what the point is, to make it the way you want it. So does this mean there could be some pretty awful 3D-print vehicles running around town someday? Probably, but there are already plenty of custom vehicles that look cool to some but bad to others.
At only 116 inches, the audience for me:MO is probably going to be young drivers. So the sophisticates won’t find offense in these small EVs, as they’re probably not paying attention to them anyway. So this is going after younger drivers that look at customization, not so much as lifting or lowering or adding big wheels or faster engines.
Are there more modular EV concepts?
Besides the me:MO, two other modular EV concepts took the stage, the Uniform Cargo and Uniform Truck. They’re the same, with modularity allowing owners to switch around panels for either one or the other. And finally, our favorite is the Osanpo concept EV roadster. We’d love to be able to spin around in this fun-looking ‘vert. Daihatsu, please come back to the U.S.