Czinger Revolutionizing Auto Design & Manufacturing
As the new and used auto markets literally explode digitally and physically, the ingenuity surrounding automotive engineering is advancing at a proportionately equal clip, dramatically migrating from how cars operate (internal combustion to electric) to streamlining car design and manufacturing, catapulting the segment not only as a utilitarian business but affecting consumer perception of capabilities of high tech and its implications on greater society. With the entire auto industry in a frenzied, fast and furious product development discovery phase to find their brand’s unique place in the AI-automotive sun, one cutting edge manufacturer stands-out -- Czinger, the 100% industry disruptor based in LA (of course it is), the newish kid on the block who, as the creator of the first 3D printed car, is the only manufacturer in the industry to authentically use ‘disruptor’ as a noun.
Czinger’s already demonstrated the newest way to build a car would seem to be to…print it. That’s right, just hit ctrl+p (cmd+p) and you are off to the proverbial races. Founded by automotive and tech entrepreneur Kevin Czinger, the company that bears his name has recently introduced the world to the 21C, a hybrid powered supercar primarily built using 3D design and printing tech.
On the surface this might sound like a PR stunt created as a one-off WOW factor based more on the novelty of the fact than the practicality of it. But dig a little deeper you’ll find beneath the gimmickry there is a substantial, dedicated attempt at revolutionizing car production.
The 21C itself is a beast. Much like its higher profile counterparts like the McLaren Speedtail or the Ferrari SF90 Stradale this car is not to be trifled with on the track. Its mid-engine 2.9L V8 can produce 950 hp, which translates to a 1.9 second wait time to get to 60mph.Kevin Czinger in the Blade. Yale.edu
The 21C is so legit it beat the McLaren Senna’s lap record at the WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway by two seconds. No small feat when considering the Senna’s own legacy. The point is that, again, this isn’t just a prop car; Czinger is making an indelible statement committed to owning the space as first-to-market.
But the speed and power bona fides, impressive though they may be, are secondary to the real victory here – and that is a view to the future of not just how fast a hybrid or EV supercar can go but how it is produced.
Everyone under the sun, including Elon Musk, has tried to change the way cars are made, but let’s face it – the manufacturers are hitting a wall. But not Czinger, whose secret sauce is the true grit of an entrepreneur approaching his craft with the fearlessness of a heat-seeking missile that won’t give up until reaching its target. He’s an innovator of the Steve Jobs circa 1980s genre, committed in ways mere mortals cannot understand and utterly unaffected by stuff like operational procedures and approvals, budget planning, compensation and vacation packages, and (position) titles. At least for now, that is – until the 21C rules the road and circumstances of success dictate he becomes one of them. (URGGG!)
Let’s face it: some people are born that way. In 2012, Czinger partnered with F1 and Le Mans engineers to create Divergent, the 3D printing and tech company that is partnering with Czinger on 21C’s objective to change the way cars are made. Founders are predisposed to be overly, and overtly, cautious about their IP, but here is where Gzinger departs from the quintessential entrepreneur attributes, since 2015 he’s been delivering keynote addresses on the dematerialization of car production, earning him a place at the ‘open source’ table highly regarded by the tech community. So much for the 21C as a PR stunt – the truth is much more difficult for haters to acknowledge: his masterpiece is the culmination of nearly a decade of work.
Alas, despite our earlier claim, however, printing the body and the majority of the parts is not – SHOCK! HORROR! -- as easy as hitting ctrl+p and sitting back why the car takes shape in your HP. The ins and outs of using advanced machine learning algorithms that correctly program the precise dimensions of rolled steel with powdered metals is tricky and extremely expensive.
The real question isn’t whether it’s possible, the 21C proved that it is, the question that Czinger and others like him need to answer is whether it is scalable. As of now there is no such thing as a major production plant that has capablities of meeting the demands of a car similar to the Ford F-150, which, for comparison purposes, sells more than a 100,000 units a year.
Between electrification, hybridization, and 3D printing, the future of the 135-year automotive industry will be led by the innovators most engaged in transforming it. From where we’re sitting, Czinger, no stranger to the podium, is poised to take it.
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