Despite only being founded in 2019, Czinger Vehicles are arguably one of the most ambitious automotive manufacturers around. The marque's founders, Kevin and Lukas Czinger, seek to revolutionize the industry through their radical production process. Czinger's novel AI-driven design philosophy is realized through their extensive use of in-house developed materials, 3D printing technology and automated assembly. The result? Powerful, sleek, and technologically advanced vehicles that push the boundaries of automotive design.
Nowhere are the hallmarks of Czinger's unique design approach more visible than their first production vehicle, the Czinger 21C. Its 3D-printed chassis has been generatively designed to ensure maximum engineering efficiency and optimum performance, whether on track or the road. Furthermore, its internally-designed mid-mounted hybrid powertrain – coupling a mid-mounted twin-turbo 2.88-liter V8 engine with an 800V electric drive system – has the highest power density of any production internal combustion engine in the world. Additional optimizations are on show in the 21C's BrakeNode, which combines brake calipers and suspension components into a single unit.
Ahead of deliveries beginning later this year, a 21C in road-legal configuration and Michelin Pilot Cup 2R street tires have already set lap records around Laguna Seca and Circuit of the Americas in 2021, beating the McLaren Senna's times by margins of two and six seconds respectively. It's clear that Czinger has left absolutely nothing on the table regarding pure pace, thanks to its innovative, performance-oriented design.
Czinger's latest innovation comes in the form of the 21C's cutting-edge gearbox. The Los Angeles–based brand have partnered with leading motorsport and high-performance automotive transmission manufacturer, Xtrac, to develop the world's first topology-optimized 3D-printed gearbox.
A one-of-a-kind gearbox
Xtrac is one of the most renowned suppliers of transmission systems in the motorsport and high-performance industries, having produced more than 1,200 gearbox designs over its thirty-nine years of operation. The Berkshire–based manufacturer places a strong emphasis on investing in extensive research and development, as well as on developing young engineering talent through their award-winning apprenticeship and undergraduate programs. With Czinger and Xtrac being industry leaders in their respective sectors, it was no surprise that the two brands collaborated to produce the 21C's ground-breaking gearbox.
The 21C's gearbox maintains the same design ethos seen in other components of Czinger's first hypercar. A topology-optimized approach maximizes performance by using mathematical modelling to account for variable factors such as external forces, material properties, constraints, and boundary and load conditions. By minimizing unnecessary material, this design method saves weight, reduces gearbox size and improves production sustainability – a win-win scenario for all involved!
As with other elements of the 21C, Czinger and Xtrac's new gearbox is additively manufactured using the manufacturer's one-of-a-kind printing process. The gearbox is printed from Czinger's own aluminum alloy, enhancing its production quality and structural performance while also saving weight. Additionally, using in-house materials improves manufacturing times as neither Czinger nor Xtrac need to depend on third-party suppliers to be able to print the 21C's gearbox.
Innovative technology at the forefront
No manual tooling is required to produce the 21C's gearbox, thanks to Czinger and Xtrac's extensive use of additive manufacturing technology, which further increases the production efficiency. This approach also allows Czinger and Xtrac to make rapid iterative design improvements, aiding both brands' quests to extract even more performance from this outstanding component.
Czinger and Xtrac's seven-speed semi-sequential gearbox is the fastest automated single-clutch synchromesh transmission in the world. That is thanks to its unique system of twin 48V electrically-actuated selector drums – another 'first' in Czinger's litany of innovations that feature on the 21C. This twin-barrel system enhances the city driving experience by blending electric and rear-wheel drive modes.
Gear shifts are rapid, clocking in at a truly remarkable time of just under 100ms. Power generated from the electric motors on the front axle enables smooth shifting, which furthers the performance of the 21C. If that wasn't enough, Czinger and Xtrac's revolutionary transmission system features the world's highest torque transmitted per gram of gearcase in any road-legal vehicle. Another example of underlining both brands' commitment to innovative, performance-oriented and original design.
A manufacturer to watch
Bold, radical, and innovative, the 21C's gearbox is unlike any other in today's hypercar market. Czinger and Xtrac have gone above and beyond to produce a highly optimized transmission system that will surely be the envy of other high-performance automotive manufacturers.
The Los Angeles company's ethos of pushing the limits of automotive design by using digital design approaches and additive manufacturing technologies is industry-disrupting in every sense. It won't surprise me to see other luxury sports car brands attempt to emulate their processes in the near future.
Production of the Czinger 21C began in 2021, with a limited run of 80 units produced in several different configurations. Deliveries will commence later this year.