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One of the problems with trying to stay eco-friendly is that environmentally-conscious options are so limited… and ugly.

This is especially true for energy efficient or hybrid cars. With only a handful of them around, it’s a lot easier for drivers to simply stick with the status quo and abandon thoughts (however noble) of converting to more eco-friendly vehicles.

But all this seems set to change, as a team from Singapore’s National Technological University (NTU) have built the country’s first 3D-printed car. The car — named NTU Venture 8, or NV8 — runs on solar-powered electricity, and took the team over a year to design and build, according to The Straits Times.

The interior of the NV8 (Image Credit: Channel NewsAsia)
The interior of the NV8 (Image Credit: Channel NewsAsia)

Unlike the traditional fuel-guzzling monsters that fill our roads, the NV8 is a lightweight car made using plastic. This means that it weighs significantly less than a usual saloon car, and will therefore consume less energy and be one of the most energy efficient vehicles around.

The use of 3D-printing technology in the design of the NV8 also means that when it finally becomes available on the market, buyers will be able to customise their vehicles. This is good news for those who seek both form and function in their cars.

Image Credit: The Straits Times
Image Credit: The Straits Times

But it appears that simply designing one of the most technologically advanced vehicles is not enough for the NTU team, who will be taking the NV8 to Shell’s Eco-marathon Asia competition. It will be held in Manila later this year, and the NV8 will be competing in the Urban Concept category.

While I’m liking what the NV8 means to environmental efforts, and wish the team all the best at the competition, I can’t help but wonder: is the car — with it’s light, almost flimsy-looking plastic frame — safe? After all, if I have to reduce my carbon footprint by taking my chances with an unreliable vehicle, I’d much rather deal with the wrath of a bunch of angry environmentalists.

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