Department of Energy 3D prints an all-electric Shelby Cobra

Carroll Shelby's iconic Cobra roadster has been making jaws drop for half a century now. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cobra's debut the US Department of Energy built one of its own. The new Cobra's entire chassis and bodywork--from the passenger monocoque to the grille and headrests--were 3D printed from carbon fiber reinforced ABS using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. And while the exterior of the new Cobra is nearly indistinguishable from its predecessor, they look nothing alike under the hood. The DoE's Cobra is, in fact, completely electric.

It's outfitted with a 100-kilowatt electric motor that hits 60 mph from a standstill in under five seconds. This "laboratory-on-wheels," as the DoE describes it, is actually built to accommodate a number of new technologies like motors motor propelled by wide bandgap power electronics, using a simple "plug-n-play" design. In all, the vehicle took a team of six engineers just six weeks to design and print. The DoE's replica made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show back in January. It currently resides at the Department of Energy headquarters in Washington DC.