We have seen the teasers, we have to deal with the name (silent C, pronounce it like the tower hamburger) now, finally, Czinger is ready to divulge all the good things on his 21C hypercar. And the big news is that it is 3D printed. Well, large sections of the chassis are paving the way for a revolutionary new car production process that could change … everything.
Before going into all this, are you ready for the numbers? Please adopt the position of the guardian. The engine is an internally developed 2.9-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces 937 hp with a red line of 11,000 rpm. It will be the world’s most power-dense production engine, connected to a seven-speed sequential gearbox.
On the front axle there are two electric motors powered by a 2kWh titanated lithium battery pack (faster to load and discharge than the normal lithium ion) housed in the windowsills and kept topped up by a generator of the rear engine.
In the non-homologated, track-oriented 2021 launch car, they contribute an additional 237 hp for all-wheel drive and a total of 1,174 hp. Which is a lot. The kerbweight is 1,165 kg, which is not it. “I love Bruce Lee. I’m not a Arnold Schwarzenegger boy. The future is to be slim, bad and efficient, it’s all based on the power to weigh. “That’s Kevin Czinger, founder and CEO. More on him in a while.
The reported performances are 0–62 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds, a quarter of a mile in 8.3 seconds at 170 miles per hour and a top speed of 236 miles per hour, despite 790 kg of downforce at 155 miles per hour. Wait until 2022 for the slippery and fully homologated, road-oriented version and you will get more hybrid assistance for a total of 1,233 hp, even if it weighs a little more at 1,250 kg. Hardly a fat, yet – almost – that perfect weight-to-power ratio. Top speed rises in the low downforce version up to 268 miles per hour.
If I had to choose this moment to loudly mock and dismiss Czinger as another main piece of vaporizer, I wouldn’t blame you. The edge of supercar history is clogged by ambitious start-ups like this, but Czinger’s ending is not only to sell 80 (25 tracks, 55 roads) 21C for $ 1.7 million per pop. Its mission is to change the way cars are designed and built through the freedom of 3D printing and a revolutionary production process designed to de-materialize and decapitalize everything … 21C is simply a proof of concept.
“That’s what it is, buddy. I want to build really bad things, but if you are a craftsman who is actually a technologist, you have to create the right tools. I want this Czinger automaker to be five blocks away from anyone else on the planet in the create these tools and express them as being at the forefront of the mind. “Kevin Czinger again, not your average CEO.
I am walking around 21C with Czinger in his Los Angeles factory and you can forget the classic mid-engine proportions, the 21C is a shapeshifter. Long and low to the side, a single curve that sweeps from nose to tail, but then narrows as you search around. From the front, a windshield that originates in front of the front axle; from the rear, a wing, diffuser and net, mainly.
Distinctive aspects have been introduced since Czinger insisted on a 1 + 1 layout. “I love superbikes. Being in that central driving position is optimal from the point of view of driving, handling and emotions “, he says. I slide my butt on the large windowsill and I fall on the driver’s seat. He is not wrong, I am not even moving and there is an immediate sense of concentration. In a McLaren F1 or Speedtail you are joined by your passengers, practically wearing them as shoulder straps, but here you are alone. Even with a passenger in the back, cranked legs, you will soon forget that I am there.
The problem with a 1 + 1 mid-engine car is that there are a lot of humans to put in before getting to the oily tips. From here the driver’s seat pushed to the pointed end of the car and an engine went out on the rear axle. I doubt Czinger about the sanity of this configuration: “Yes, it’s a challenge, but what the heck is life?”
But the real fun starts when you see a bare chassis. All sections, especially high load areas, which can be 3D printed, are. Everything from the transverse suspension arms to the front crash structure, from the windshield frame to the dashboard, is ctrl + P in aluminum and titanium alloys. Where possible, the printed knots are joined by convenient and ready-to-use materials, such as carbon fiber tubes and extruded aluminum of standard dimensions to create a super rigid and beautiful structure. You see, the software that designs the printed components puts the material only where it needs to be, creating fascinating and organic shapes that flow like tendons and muscles.
So there are advantages in terms of rigidity, cost advantages in fewer raw materials and it is easily recyclable. At the end of the life of a 3D printed component, you melt it, shoot nitrogen through it and return to dust, ready to be printed again. Then there are the multipurpose benefits – things like the muffler, designed by Czinger’s software to act not only as a silencer but as an integral part of the rear crash structure. You will also notice a 3D printed rectangular discharge tip, created so you can spit out X-shaped flames on the overcoming.
Fantastic, but not the complete picture. Because it is Czinger’s DAPS (adaptive divergent production system) that tears the traditional business model of automobile construction. By dividing a factory into any number of fully automated 15 x 15 m “cells”, each capable of assembling 10,000 chassis per year – or one every 20 minutes – and costing only $ 2.5 million in advance for robots and other hardware. “We shot Henry Ford in the head,” says Czinger.
You will still need an air-conditioned 3D printing laboratory to churn out components on the spot and some extra space for the final assembly by man, but it exponentially reduces the start-up costs for a new company. And since there are no tools, flexibility is through the roof. If one model doesn’t sell well and another is, simply change that cell to produce the most popular version and satisfy the demand. It is not necessary to sink hundreds of millions into a gigafactory based on vague predictions, you start small and get bigger.
However, we are scratching the surface. Czinger’s final vision is an “infinite expression of unique creativity”. Translated into English which means powerful software in which you put your needs, a computer then performs all the engineering calculations and produces the components you need. Just press print, assemble and the car is yours. “We are now only at the subsystem level,” he tells us, “but complete vehicle integration is not far off.” Imagine an online vehicle configurator that not only allows you to choose the coating and paint, you can have the exact shape, size and capacity you need, pay less and step on the environment.
“This is not a Lego block kit. This is a kit that says” before you touch the first Lego block that you customized every single block you will use, “explains Czinger.” After that you want to build something else? Just put it aside and re-customize each Lego block, and they’re all interdependent and related. That’s what digital production is in the end. We won’t be suppliers, we will be licensors of those tools. “
The 21C has four wheels and an engine, enough power to reverse the earth’s rotation, belongs to the wall of a teenager’s bedroom and we hope to drive it very soon, but it is not a car. Not exactly. It is a company with a great idea that makes noise in the most engaging way possible. Top Gear doesn’t make marketing tools, but if they did, they would be.