Deep dive: The Czinger 21C 3D-printed hypercar changes how cars are built

The Czinger 21C isn’t just another boutique hypercar. It demonstrates a new way of building cars. The 21C’s 3D-printed construction does away with tooling, assembly lines, and all the other expensiverappings of traditional automotive manufacturing.

Almost every metal component in the 21C (the name stands for “21st Century”) is 3D printed, Jens Sverdrup, Czinger chief commercial officer, told Apex One in a recent video interview. Those parts are made from a mix of aluminum, titanium, and Inconel–a heat-resistant material originally developed for use in the aerospace industry.

Instead of mating those components together on a traditional assembly line, everything is done by robots in one central location. This means the Czinger factory won’t have to be reconfigured to switch to a different model, Jon Gunner, Czinger chief technical officer, said.

Czinger 21C

Czinger 21C

That may be fine for a low-volume hypercar, but these production techniques aren’t practical for mass-market vehicles. Titanium is both expensive and notoriously difficult to work with, for example.

Perhaps the basic concepts of 3D-printed parts and centralized assembly will eventually trickle down to mainstream vehicles with less-exotic materials, though. In fact, some form of it already has.

Automakers have been experimenting with 3D printing for years. Local Motors 3D-printed the body for a small electric car, while Bugatti 3D prints brake calipers from titanium. Ford and Volkswagen have discussed using 3D printing for smaller parts on production cars.

Czinger 21C

Czinger 21C

The 21C features a hybrid powertrain that generates some serious numbers. Two electric motors with a combined 240 horsepower drive the front wheels. A 2.8-liter, twin-turbocharged, flat-plane crank V-8 powers the rear wheels through a 7-speed sequential transaxle. Mounted behind the driver, the V-8 produces 950 hp.

Czinger claims the 21C will do 0 to 62 mph in 1.9 seconds, and run the quarter mile in 8.1 seconds. The company has not quoted a top speed, but did say the 21C will reach 248 mph from a standstill in 29 seconds.

Based in Los Angeles, Czinger plans to build the 21C locally. The company was founded by Kevin Czinger, the same person behind the Divergent Blade 3D-printed supercar. The Blade acted as a proof of concept for some of the features of the 21C, including 3D-printed construction and tandem seating.

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