BMW i Ventures has been investing strategically, since launching in 2011, in startups that it considers will shape the future of mobility. This Monday, BMW i Ventures announced its investment in metal 3D printing company Desktop Metal.
Aiming to make technology more affordable, reportedly, the company is about to introduce its first product to the market. Founders of Desktop Metal, Ric Fulop (CEO) and Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, had also founded lithium-ion battery company A123 systems.
Alongside BMW, the funding round saw investments from Lowe’s and Google. However, since BMW has plans to include additive manufacturing to its car-making process, their backing of Desktop Metal is more than just a mere investment.
Doing 3D prints with metal would reduce the production costs and manufacturers could experiment with uncommon or even complex designs with ease and in less time. Proto-type parts could be done with small changes if need be without the need for re-tooling – making it less wasteful. BMW plans to utilise 3D printing for some parts and this could also offer more customisation opportunities to buyers.
According to Autoblog, before Desktop Metal, BMW had invested in other 3D printing partners including Carbon3D – which uses a photochemical process to print plastic parts.